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Full text of "Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk for Dummies"

Starting a Business 
on eBayxo.uk 



FOR 



by Dan Matthews and Marsha Collier 




WILEY 

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 



Starting a Business 
on eBay.co.uk 



FOR 



Starting a Business 
on eBayxo.uk 



FOR 



by Dan Matthews and Marsha Collier 




WILEY 

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 



Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 

Published by 

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 

The Atrium 
Southern Gate 
Chichester 
West Sussex 
P019 8SQ 
England 

E-mail (for orders and customer service enquires): cs-books@wiley.co.uk 

Visit our Home Page on www.wileyeurope. com 

Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, West Sussex, England 

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, West Sussex 

All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or trans- 
mitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or other- 
wise, except under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a 
licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, WIT 4LP, UK, 
without the permission in writing of the Publisher. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be 
addressed to the Legal Department, Wiley Publishing, Inc, 10475 Crosspoint Blvd, Indianapolis, Indiana 
46256, United States, 317-572-4355, fax 317-572-4355, or online at http : //www.wiley. com/go/ 
permissions. 

Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for the 
Rest of Us!, The Dummies Way, Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way, Dummies.com and related trade 
dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United 
States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission. All other trademarks are the 
property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associated with any product or vendor 
mentioned in this book. 



LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY : THE PUBLISHER, THE AUTHOR, AND ANYONE ELSE 
INVOLVED IN PREPARING THIS WORK MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT 
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ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS 
WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN 
THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR 
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AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED 
BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ. 



Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may 
not be available in electronic books. 

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data: A catalogue record for this book is available from the 
British Library. 

ISBN-10: 0-470-02666-9 (PB) 

ISBN-13: 978-0-470-02666-3 (PB) 

Printed and bound in Great Britain by Bell and Bain Ltd, Glasgow 

10 987654321 



About the Authors 



Dan Matthews is online editor of Crimson Business Publishing, which spe- 
cialises in magazines and websites supporting entrepreneurs and small busi- 
nesses in the UK. Publications include startups .co.uk and mybusiness . 
co . uk as well as Growing Business Magazine, of which Dan is contributing 
editor. Dan is also founder of inf 0Z00 . co . uk, a website dedicated to help- 
ing small businesses and regional organisations spread their message. 

Marsha Collier spends most of her time on eBay. She loves buying and 
selling - she's a PowerSeller - as well as meeting eBay users from around the 
world. As a columnist, and author of four best-selling books on eBay, a televi- 
sion and radio expert, and a lecturer, she shares her knowledge of eBay with 
millions of online shoppers. Thousands of eBay fans also read her monthly 
newsletter, Cool eBay Tools, to keep up with changes on the site. 

Out of college, Marsha worked in fashion advertising for the Miami Herald 
and then as special projects manager for the Los Angeles Daily News. She also 
founded a home-based advertising and marketing business. Her successful 
business, the Collier Company, Inc., was featured in Entrepreneur magazine in 
1985, and in 1990, Marsha's company received the Small Business of the Year 
award from her California State Assemblyman and the Northridge Chamber of 
Commerce. 

More than anything, Marsha loves a great deal. That's what drew her to eBay 
in 1996, and that's what keeps her busy on the site now. She buys everything 
from light bulbs to parts for her vintage Corvette to designer dresses. Marsha 
knows how to apply her business acumen to eBay, and in this book, she 
shares that knowledge with you. In Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For 
Dummies, Marsha and Dan combine their knowledge of business, marketing, 
and eBay savvy to help you make a smooth and quick transition from part- 
time seller to full-time moneymaker. 



Author's Acknowledgements 



I would like to thank everyone at John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, especially Martin 
Tribe and Sam Clapp, for their help and guidance; David Lester at Crimson 
Business for being supportive and Gemma Foy for her patience. 



Publisher's Acknowledgements 

We're proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration 
form located at www. dummies . com/ register/. 

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following: 



Acquisitions, Editorial, and 
Media Development 

Executive Project Editor: Martin Tribe 

Content Editor: Simon Bell 

Commissioning Editor: Samantha Clapp 

Development Editor: Brian Kramer 

Copy Editor: Kate O'Leary 

Proofreader: Kim Vern 

Technical Editor: Edmund Butler - 
aerofish.com 

Executive Editor: Jason Dunne 

Cover Photo: Jupiter Images/IT Stock Free 

Cartoons: Ed McLachlan 



Composition Services 

Project Coordinator: Jennifer Theriot 

Layout and Graphics: Carl Byers, 
Andrea Dahl, Barbara Moore, 
Lynsey Osborn, Stephanie D. Jumper 

Proofreaders: David Faust, Susan Moritz, 
Brian Walls 

Indexer: Techbooks 



Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies 

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies 

Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies 

Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies 

Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel 

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel 
Publishing for Technology Dummies 

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User 
Composition Services 

Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services 

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services 



Contents at a Glance 



Introduction / 

Part 1: Getting Serious About eBau.co.uk 7 

Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business 9 

Chapter 2: eBay.co.uk Business Basics 29 

Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools 51 

Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling 79 

Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually 103 

Part 11: Setting Up Shop 7 19 

Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop 121 

Chapter 7: Knowing Your Merchandise 137 

Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site 147 

Part HI: Serious Business! 163 

Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions 165 

Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting and Marketing Your Auctions 181 

Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions 195 

Chapter 12: Providing Excellent Customer Service 211 

Chapter 13: Money Matters 219 

Chapter 14: Delivering on Your Promise 233 

Part IV: \lour eBau.co.uk Admin 24 1 

Chapter 15: Going Legit 243 

Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 249 

Chapter 17: Building an eBay.co.uk Back Office 267 

Part V: The Part of Tens 275 

Chapter 18: Ten Successful (and Happy) eBay Sellers and Their Stories 277 

Chapter 19: Ten Strategies to Sell Your Stuff Successfully 291 

Appendix A: Glossary 299 

Appendix B: The Hows and Whys of a Home Network 303 

Index 313 



Table of Contents 



Introduction 7 

About This Book 1 

What You're Not to Read 2 

Foolish Assumptions 2 

How This Book Is Organised 3 

Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 3 

Part II: Setting Up Shop 3 

Part III: Serious Business! 4 

Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 4 

Part V: The Part of Tens 4 

Icons Used in This Book 5 

Where to Go from Here 5 

Part 1: Getting Serious About eBau.co.uk 7 

Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business 9 

Getting Down to Business 9 

Choosing eBay.co.uk as a part-time money maker 10 

Jumping in with both feet: Making eBay.co.uk a full-time job 12 

Deciding What to Sell 13 

Turning your hobby into a business 14 

Including the whole family in the business 16 

Bringing your business to eBay.co.uk 18 

Getting Ready to Sell 19 

Computer hardware 19 

Connecting to the Internet 20 

Choosing your eBay.co.uk user ID 22 

Finding your eBay.co.uk feedback 24 

Making Your Auctions Run More Smoothly 24 

Software you can use 25 

Collecting the cash 26 

Home base: Your Web site 27 

Setting up your shop 28 

Chapter 2: eBay.co.uk Business Basics 29 

Choosing Where to Position Your Stuff 29 

Selling a car? Go eBay Motors UK 31 

Properties: Not quite an auction 34 



^f I Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Fixed-Price Sales on eBay.co.uk 35 

Types of eBay Auctions 36 

Traditional auctions 36 

Dutch auctions 37 

Reserve price auctions 38 

Private auctions 40 

Running Your Auction 41 

Influencing the bidding 41 

Auction timing 42 

Marketing your auctions 44 

A second chance 45 

Listing Violations 46 

Listing policies 46 

Linking from your auctions 49 

Linking from your About Me page 50 

Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools 51 

My eBay 51 

All Buying 54 

All Selling 58 

All Favourites 61 

My Account 63 

The About Me Page 65 

eBay.co.uk Seller Services 67 

Bidder-management tools 67 

Feedback: Your permanent record 70 

The eBay.co.uk PowerSeller programme 73 

eBay.co.uk auction software 75 

eBay.co.uk fraud protection 75 

eBay.co.uk education 76 

eBay.co.uk Business Centre 76 

eBay.co.uk business registration service 77 

Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling 79 

Is What You Want to Sell Legal? 80 

Prohibited items 81 

Questionable items 82 

Potentially infringing items 85 

Trading Violations 86 

When the competition doesn't play fair 87 

Baaad bidders 90 

Accessing contact details 93 

Taking Action: What to Do When Someone Breaks the Rules 95 

SquareTrade to the rescue 97 

eBay.co.uk's Safety Centre 101 



Table of Contents ^fff 



Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually 103 

Online Shops Galore 104 

Choosing Your eBay.co.uk Shop Name 105 

Setting Up Shop 106 

Improving Your Offering 110 

Shop design and marketing Ill 

Managing your items 115 

Promotions 116 

Marketing Your Wares 117 

eBay.co.uk Shops versus Auctions 118 

Part 11: Setting Up Shop 1 19 

Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop 121 

Sourcing on a Budget 122 

Poundstretcher 122 

The Trader 122 

Cash & Carry 123 

Car boot sales 123 

Costco 123 

Garage Sales 124 

Going-Out-of-Business Sales 125 

Auctions 125 

Freebies 127 

Salvage: Liquidation Items, Unclaimed Freight, and Returns 128 

Items by the pallet 130 

Job lots 132 

Wholesale Merchandise by the Case 133 

Resale Items on eBay.co.uk 133 

Consignment Selling 134 

Chapter 7: Knowing Your Merchandise 137 

Benchmarking eBay.co.uk Rivals 138 

Advanced searching commands 139 

Using eBay.co.uk Advanced Search 141 

Useful Publications 143 

Online Sources of Information 144 

Web sites 144 

Online appraisals 145 

Authentication Services 145 

Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site 147 

Free Web Space - a Good Place to Start 148 



)Cl{j Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Paying for Your Web Space 150 

UKFast.net 153 

Donhost.co.uk 153 

What's in a Web Site Name: Naming Your Baby 155 

Registering Your Domain Name (Before Someone Else Takes It) 156 

Marketing Your Web Site (More Visitors = More Business) 158 

Banner ad exchanges 158 

Getting your URL into a search engine 160 

Part HI: Serious Business! 163 

Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions 165 

Considering Tasks for Automation 166 

Setting up images for automatic FTP upload 166 

Setting up an auction photo gallery 168 

Sorting auction e-mail 169 

Automating end-of-auction e-mail 170 

Keeping inventory 170 

Generating HTML 170 

One-click re-listing and selling similar items 171 

Scheduling your listings for bulk upload 172 

Researching your statistics 172 

Photo hosting 174 

Automating other tasks 174 

Managing Your Business with Online Resources and Software 175 

Online auction management sites 177 

Auction management software - Turbo Lister 180 

Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting 

and Marketing Your Auctions 181 

Listing Your Items 182 

eBay.co.uk's Optional Listing Features 183 

Home-page featured auctions 184 

Featured Plus 186 

Subtitle 186 

Highlight option 187 

Listing Designer 187 

Boldface option 188 

View counter 188 

The gallery 189 

Buy It Now 191 

eBay.co.uk's Cut of the Action 192 

Insertion (listing) fees 192 



Table of Contents #(/ 



eBay.co.uk Final Value Fees 194 

Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions 195 

Writing Winning Text 195 

Setting Up Your eBay.co.uk Photo Studio 196 

Digital camera 197 

Other studio equipment 198 

Props 200 

Taking Good Pictures 204 

Using a Scanner 205 

Image-Editing Software 206 

A Home for Your Images 206 

Free ISP space 207 

Auction management sites 207 

eBay.co.uk Picture Services 207 

HTML Made Easy 210 

Chapter 12: Providing Excellent Customer Service 211 

Providing a Homely Touch 211 

Communicating with Your Customers 213 

The initial inquiry 214 

The winner's notification letter 215 

The payment reminder 216 

The payment received and shipping notice 217 

The 'Your item is on its way' e-mail 218 

Chapter 13: Money Matters 219 

Big Deals Only: Banker's Draft 219 

Sign on the Line: Cheque and Postal Order 220 

Hold This for Me: Escrow Service 221 

I Take Plastic: Credit Cards 223 

Credit card payment services 223 

An Easy Way to Pay: PayPal 225 

Your very own merchant account 230 

The VeriSign Payment Services 232 

Chapter 14: Delivering on Your Promise 233 

Finding the Perfect Shipping Carrier 233 

Royal Mail 235 

DHLParcel2go 237 

Part IV: \lour eBay.co.uk Admin 241 



)C(Jl Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Chapter 15: Going Legit 243 

Types of Businesses 244 

Sole trader 244 

Partnership 245 

Limited company 245 

Corporation 246 

Taking Care of Regulatory Details 247 

Health & Safety 247 

Privacy laws 247 

Product descriptions 248 

Online contracts 248 

Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 249 

Keeping the Books: Basics That Get You Started 249 

Records Her Majesty May Want to See 251 

Supporting information 252 

How long should you keep your records? 254 

Bookkeeping Software 254 

QuickBooks: Making Bookkeeping Simple 255 

QuickBooks Pro 256 

QuickBooks EasyStep Interview 257 

QuickBooks chart of accounts 259 

Chapter 17: Building an eBay.co.uk Back Office 267 

The Warehouse: Organising Your Space 267 

Shelving your profits 268 

Box 'em or bag 'em? 268 

Inventory: Keeping Track of What You Have and Where You Keep It ...269 

The Shipping Department: Packin' It Up 270 

Packaging clean up 270 

Packing materials 271 

Packaging - the heart of the matter 273 

The Post Room: Sendin' It Out 273 

Part V: The Part of Tens 275 

Chapter 18: Ten Successful (and Happy) eBay 

Sellers and Their Stories 277 

Rockem Music 277 

Abovethemall 279 

Incentive 280 

Bubblefast 281 

iPosters 283 



Table of Contents }C(/H 



McMediaDVD 284 

Melrose_Stamp 285 

Noblespirit 286 

PreservationPublishing 288 

Vinyl Tap 289 

Chapter 19: Ten Strategies to Sell Your Stuff Successfully 291 

Take Great Pictures 291 

Assessing Your Market - Will It Sell? 293 

Assessing Yourself (Can You Do It?) 293 

Setting Perfect Pricing 294 

Describing Your Items 294 

Anything to Add? 295 

Making 'em Pay Up 296 

Packaging Precious Products 296 

Keep Communicating 297 

Sell Everything for SI 297 

Appendix A: Glossary 299 

Appendix B: The Hows and Whys of a Home Network 303 

Variations of a Home Network 304 

Powerline network 305 

Home phoneline 306 

Hooking up with wireless 309 

Internet Security and Your Home Network 311 

Firewall software 312 

Antivirus software 312 

Index 313 



)C(/(ff Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Introduction 



Thank you for taking a look at Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For 
Dummies. We've written this book to serve as a manual to get you organ- 
ised and get your eBay.co.uk business off the ground. From handling your 
selling time on eBay.co.uk more efficiently to stocking your shop to the real 
way to set up your books and daily operations, we give you all the details 
about running a successful eBay business. From our own years of experience 
and numerous interactions with hundreds of eBay sellers, we offer countless 
time-saving and money-saving tips and secret eBay.co.uk hints along the way. 

One thing that we can't guarantee is how much money you can earn selling 
on eBay. We've discovered - perhaps the hard way - that running a business 
from home takes a good deal of discipline. Time and devotion dedicated to 
your business will boost your success. 



About This Book 



Success awaits you! If you've read eBay.co.uk For Dummies, you know just 
how profitable eBay can be. You've probably picked up this book because 
you've heard lots of stories about people making big money online, and 
you're interested in getting your slice of the action. If you have a retail busi- 
ness, establishing an eBay.co.uk shop can be a profitable extension of it. 

Is selling on eBay.co.uk something that you'd like to do more of? Do you have 
a full-time job, but you'd like to sell on eBay part time? eBay can easily sup- 
plement your income for the better things in life - such as holidays or even 
private school for the kids. Perhaps you're looking to make a career change, 
and jumping into an eBay.co.uk business with both feet is just what you have 
in mind - if so, Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies is the book for 
you. 

We've watched eBay change from a homey community of friendly collectors 
to a behemoth Web site with tens of thousands of categories of items and 
more than 100 million registered users. We bet you've been buying and sell- 
ing with positive results, and you can see the benefits of taking this a bit 
more seriously. What are you waiting for? Get started on your new career 
right now. Thousands of people across the world are setting up businesses 
online, and now is your time to take the leap of faith to begin a profitable 
enterprise. eBay.co.uk gives you the tools, the customers, and the venue to 
market your wares - all you need is a bit of direction. 



Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies includes tips to give you the 
opportunity to improve your eBay money-making ability and just might turn 
you from an eBay novice into a professional running a booming eBay business. 
We also show the experienced user the prudent way to turn haphazard sales 
into an organised business. This book has all the information you need! We 
combine the fine points of eBay.co.uk with real business and marketing tools 
to help you complete the journey from part-time seller to online entrepreneur. 

In this book, you can find the answers to some important questions as I take 
you through the following points: 

v* Reviewing what you know and introducing some of the finer points of 
eBay.co.uk auctions 

J-" Sprucing up your auctions to attract more bidders 

v* Dealing with customers 

J-" Setting up your business in a professional manner 

v* Deciding how to handle inventory (and where to find it) 

j-" Looking at what you need to be in an eBay business ... for real 



What \lou're Not to Read 



If you use Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies like a cookery book, 
jumping around from recipe to recipe (or chapter to chapter), you can find 
the answers to your particular questions all at once. Or you can read the 
book from beginning to end and keep it handy to look up future questions as 
they come to you. You don't have to memorise a thing; the information you 
need is at arm's length. 



Foolish Assumptions 



Because you're reading this, we assume you're serious about selling on eBay. 
co.uk and want to find out the fine points of just how to do that. Or perhaps 
you want to know how much is involved in an eBay business so that you can 
make the decision whether to give it a go. 

If we've worked you out and you've decided that it's time to get serious, here 
are some other foolish assumptions we've made about you: 

IJ-" You have a computer and an Internet connection. 
i** You've bought and sold on eBay and are fairly familiar with how it works. 



Introduction 



v* You have an existing small business or you'd like to start one. 

C" You like the idea of not having to work set hours. 

v* You feel that working from home in jeans and a t-shirt is a great idea. 

If you can say yes to my foolish assumptions, you're off and running! Take a 
few moments to read the following section to get a feel for how we've put 
together this book. 



Hout This Book Is Organised 



This book has five parts. The parts stand on their own, which means that you 
can read Chapter 12 after reading Chapter 8 and maybe skip Chapter 13 alto- 
gether (but we know you won't because that's where we discuss the money!). 



Part 1: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 

Reviewing what you know is always a great place to start. Considering the 
way eBay constantly changes, you'll probably find a little review worthwhile. 
So in this part, we delve into the finer points of eBay.co.uk. Perhaps you'll dis- 
cover a thing or two you didn't know - or had forgotten. 

Setting up your eBay shop is important, and in this part we show you step by 
step the best way to do it - and give you tips to work out when the timing is 
right for you to open your shop. 



Part 11: Setting Up Shop 



You need to decide what type of business you plan to run and what type of 
inventory you'll sell. In this part, we discuss how to find merchandise and the 
best way to sell it. We also give you the low-down on eBay Motors UK, prop- 
erty, and some of the unusual areas where you can sell. 

In this part, you'll also find out how to research items - before you buy them 
to sell - so you'll know for how much (or whether) they'll sell on eBay.co.uk. 

We also discuss the importance of your own Web site for online shopping and 
how to set one up quickly and economically. 



Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Part 111: Serious Business! 

In Part III, we discuss exactly how to use available online and offline tools, 
implement auction management software, jazz up your auctions, and handle 
shipping efficiently and effectively. Because working with customers and col- 
lecting payments is important too, you can find that information here as well. 

Most importantly, you also find out how to obtain free shipping material for 
your business delivered to your door, get your postal carrier to pick up your 
boxes at no charge, and insure your packages without standing in line at the 
post office. 



Part IV: \lour eBayxoMk Admin 

Setting up your business as a real business entity involves some nasty paper- 
work and red tape. We try to fill in the blanks here, as well as show you how 
to set up your bookkeeping. In this part you'll find a checklist of the items 
you need to run your online business. 

You also need to know how to set up your home business space and how to 
store your stuff and we cover that here. 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



You can't write a For Dummies book without including the traditional Part of 
Tens. So here are ten real-life stories of successful (and happy) people selling 
on eBay.co.uk. We also include ten strategies that might help you sell your 
stuff. 

We include a random collection of terms in Appendix A. You're probably 
already familiar with many of these words, but others will be new to you. 
Refer to this appendix often as you peruse other parts of the book. In 
Appendix B, we briefly discuss home networking, a perk you'll want to 
have when your eBay business grows. 



Introduction 



leans Used in This Book 




jPS* 




If there's something I need to interject - okay, something we're jumping up 
and down to tell you but it doesn't fit directly into the text - we indicate it by 
placing this tip icon in front of the paragraph. You'll know the tip to follow 
will be right on target! 

Do you really know people who tie string around their fingers to remember 
something? Me neither; but this icon gives me the opportunity to give you a 
brief reminder to note. 

We like this picture of a petard - the round bomb device that Wile E. Coyote 
slam-dunks in the cartoons. If you don't heed the warning indicated by this 
icon, you may be 'hoisted by your own petard', or made a victim of your own 
foolishness. 

Here we share some of the interesting thoughts we've picked up from eBay 
sellers over the years. Because we believe that knowledge is enhanced 
through making your own choices based on understanding the successes and 
mistakes of others, we include these little auction factoids so you can gain 
some insight from them. If someone else has learned from a unique trick, you 
can benefit by taking heed. 



Where to Go from Here 



Time to hunker down and delve into the book. If you have time, just turn the 
page and start from the beginning. If you're anxious and already have some 
questions you want answered, check out the handy index at the end of the 
book and research your query. 

Take the information offered in this book and study it. Being a success on 
eBay.co.uk awaits you. 

Our goal is to help you reach your goals. Feel free to contact Marsha through 
her Web site and sign up for the free newsletter. That way you can stay up to 
date: 

www. coolebaytools . com 



Please e-mail with any suggestions, additions, and comments. We want to 
hear from you and hope to update this book with your words of wisdom. 
(Humorous stories are also gratefully accepted!) 



Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Parti 



Getting Serious 
About eBay.co.uk 




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^H-Uevwovl^Avwill^vovel^nfwy-Peef.co.uV- soiav\<As 

<a lovely <kov\o\\\\ v\^u*\e -Pov yoiw e&<*y 

biAslv\ess, \\ovro\A." 



In this part . . . 



^^ecause eBay.co.uk continually makes improvements, 
*/some of its features are like hidden gold nuggets. In 
this first part, we delve into the finer points of eBay.co.uk 
with you. Perhaps you'll discover a thing or two you 
didn't know or had forgotten. 



Chapter 1 

Using eBay.co.uk to Launch 
Your Business 

In This Chapter 

Getting serious about your business 
Making decisions about what to sell 
Having what it takes to make a living online 
Running an efficient auction 

■ Xou've decided to get serious about your sales on eBay.co.uk, so now you 
^t have to decide how much time you have to devote to your eBay busi- 
ness. We talk about all kinds of eBay businesses in this book. Even though 
you're not quitting your day job and selling on eBay full time (yet!), we still 
think you're serious. A large portion of sellers, even eBay PowerSellers (those 
who gross more than £750 a month in sales), work on eBay only part time. 

eBay sellers come from all walks of life. A good number of stay-at-home 
mums are out there selling on eBay. And so many retirees are finding eBay a 
great place to supplement their income that we wouldn't be surprised if the 
Pensions Service creates a special eBay arm for them. If you're pulled out of 
your normal work routine and faced with a new lifestyle, you can easily make 
the transition to selling on eBay. 

In this chapter, we talk about planning just how much time you can devote 
to your eBay business - and how to budget that time. We also talk here about 
working out what to sell. eBay businesses don't grow overnight, but with ded- 
ication and persistence, you may just form your own online empire. 

Getting Dou/n to Business 

Before launching any business, including an eBay.co.uk business, you need to 
set your priorities. And to be successful at that business, you must apply 
some clear level of discipline. 



/ {J Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



We won't bore you with the now-legendary story of how Pierre Omidyar 
started eBay to help fulfil his girlfriend's Pez dispenser habit, blah, blah, blah. 
We will tell you that he started AuctionWeb with a laptop, a regular Internet 
Service Provider (ISP), and an old school desk. Omidyar and his friend Jeff 
Skoll (a Stanford MBA) ran the 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week AuctionWeb all 
by themselves. When we began using the service, we had a lot of questions 
and we always got prompt, friendly answers to our e-mails. When the site 
started attracting more traffic, Pierre's ISP began to complain about all the 
traffic and raised his monthly fees. To cover the higher costs, Pierre and Jeff 
began charging 25 cents to list an auction. Pierre was so busy running the site 
that the envelopes full of cheques began to pile up - he didn't even have time 
to open the post. 

When Pierre and Jeff incorporated eBay AuctionWeb in 1996, they were each 
drawing a salary of $25,000. Their first office consisted of one room, and they 
had one part-time employee to handle the payments. Pierre and Jeff started 
small and grew. 



Choosing eBay.co.uk as a 
part-time money maker 

A part-time eBay.co.uk business can be very profitable. We stress repeatedly 
in this book that the more time and energy you spend on your eBay business, 
the more money you can make, but for now we move on to the lowest possi- 
ble level of time that you should devote to your business. 

Maybe you enjoy finding miscellaneous items to sell on eBay. You can find 
these items somehow in your day-to-day life. Suppose that you can spend at 
least a few hours (maybe three) a day on eBay. Now you must include the 
time you take to write up your auctions. If you're not selling only one type of 
item, allow about 15 minutes to write your auction, take your picture or scan 
your image, and, of course, upload it to eBay.co.uk or a photo-hosting site. 

How much time it takes to perform these tasks varies from person to person 
and improves according to your level of expertise. Every task in your eBay 
auction business takes time, however, and you must budget for that time. See 
the sidebar 'Some handy eBay.co.uk time-saving tips' for pointers. 

Only you can decide how much time you want to spend researching going 
rates for items on eBay.co.uk and deciding which day or time your item will 
sell for the highest price. You can take great photos and write brilliant 
descriptions, but cashmere cardigans don't sell for as much in the heat of 
summer as they do in winter. Doing your research can take up a good deal of 
time when you're selling a varied group of items. 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business / / 




Some handy eBay.co.uk time-saving tips 



Stuck for time? Following are some features 
that you're sure to find useful and handy: 

X" HTML templates: In Chapter 11, I give you 
some tips on finding basic HTMLformattem- 
plates for attractive auctions. These tem- 
plates cut your auction design time to a few 
minutes. Most experienced eBay sellers use 
preset templates to speed up the task of list- 
ing auctions, and this should be your goal. 

*<" Turbo Lister program: When you wantto list 
a lot of auctions at once, use the eBay 
Turbo Lister program- it enables you to put 
together and upload ten auctions in just 15 
minutes. Chapter 9 tells you how to use this 
very cool tool. 

f Re-listing (or Sell Similar) feature: When you 

sell the same item time after time, you can 



use Turbo Lister (it archives your old listings 
so you can repeat them) or the handy eBay 
re-listing or Sell Similar features. When your 
auction ends on eBay, links pop up offering 
to re-list your listing or to Sell Similar. If you 
wantto run a different auction with a similar 
HTML format to the one that just ended, 
simply select the Sell Similar option and cut 
and paste the new title and description into 
the Sell Your Item page of your new listing. 

(-" Auction management software: See the 

'Software you can use' section in this chap- 
ter and see also Chapter!), which details var- 
ious programs to integrate into your eBay 
business. 



Consider also how much time shopping for your merchandise takes. You may 
have to travel to dealers, go to auctions, or spend time online discovering 
new ways to find your auction merchandise. Many sellers set aside a full day 
each week for this undertaking. Your merchandise is what makes you money, 
so don't skimp on the time you spend identifying products. The time you 
spend on resourcing your products comes back to you in higher profits. 

Here's a list of various activities that you must perform when doing business 
on eBay.co.uk: 

v* Photograph the item. 

J-" Clean up and resize the images in a photo editor (if necessary). 

J-" Upload the images to eBay Picture Services when you list or before list- 
ing to your ISP or third-party hosting service. 

j-" Weigh the item and determine the shipping cost. 

v* Choose an auction title with keywords. 

j-" Write a concise and creative description. 

J-" List the auction on eBay.co.uk. 



7 £ P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



v* Answer bidder questions. 

i*" Send end-of-auction e-mails. 

v* Carry out banking. 

v* Perform bookkeeping. 

J-" Pack the item safely and securely. 

j-" Address the label and affix postage. 

J-" Go to the post office. 

Time yourself to see how long you take to accomplish each of these tasks. The 
time varies when you list multiple items, so think of the figures that you come 
up with as your baseline, a minimum amount of time that you must set aside 
for these tasks. Use this information to help you decide how many hours per 
month you need to devote to running your part-time eBay business. 

Jumping in With both feet: Making 
eBayxoMk a full-time job 

The tasks required for your eBay business can be time consuming. But care- 
ful planning and scheduling can turn your business into a money-spinning 
empire. 

The best way to go full time on eBay is to first run your business part time for 
a while to iron out the wrinkles. After you become comfortable with eBay.co. 
uk as a business, you're ready to make the transition to full-time seller. The 
minimum gross monthly sales for a Bronze-level PowerSeller is S750. If you 
plan your time efficiently, you can easily attain this goal. Head to Chapter 3 
for more information on the PowerSeller programme. 

Running a full-time business on eBay is the perfect option for working parents 
who prefer staying at home with their children, retirees looking for some- 
thing to do, or those who'd just rather do something else than work for their 
boss. Read some real-life profiles of happy full-time sellers in Chapter 18. 

See Figure 1-1 for an example of the eBay.co.uk home page, the first stop for 
most buyers on eBay.co.uk. Note how eBay makes an effort to reflect some 
sort of promotion to better market the items you put up for sale. 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business / j 



Figure 1-1: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

home page, 

where it all 

starts! 



€* , 



CG.llk 



Buy Sell My eBay Community Help 



(Start re-. 



|-isll'j, d3nrnatthews5C!! ' Sig 



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Btisi n ess. Office & Imhistiml 

illfflms. Shi>^s, Accessories 

Coins 

l-'jIkcTahleS 

Cont i nuing 



kwk 



Find more items you might like based on whal 
you shop for. 



On eB.iy Today 
1 Sell your unwanted 
■r Christmas presents and 
help make money for charity! 



^^nfc 



Helpful Links 

eBay Explained : Learn more about eBay 

eBay Fuls^ : What's hot right now 

eBay Si-io ps: High Street on your desktop 



Deciding What to Sett 



What should I sell? That is the million-dollar question! In your quest for mer- 
chandise, you're bound to hear about soft goods and hard goods. Soft, or 
non-durable, goods are generally textile products, such as clothing, fabrics, 
and bedding. Hard goods are computer equipment, homewares, and anything 
else that's basically non-disposable. 

Following are just a few points to consider when you're deciding what to sell: 



J-" Shipping costs: Some differences exist between shipping hard and soft 
goods. Soft goods can fold up and be packed in standard box sizes or 
(better yet) in bubble wrap or jiffy bags for much lower shipping costs. 
Most hard goods come in their own boxes, which may or may not be indi- 
vidually shippable. You also need to use Styrofoam peanuts or bubble 
cushioning or double package items in oddly sized boxes. See Chapter 17 
for the low-down on shipping and packing. 

v* Other shipping considerations: Do you want to handle large boxes and 
deal with the hassles of shipping them? 

v* Possible storage problems: Do you have the room to store enough mer- 
chandise to keep you going? Soft goods can take up considerably less 
space than hard goods. 



/ [l Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




You don't always have to buy your items in bulk to make money on eBay. 
The first things you sell may be items you find in your garage or loft. To find 
out about some other fun ways to acquire goods to sell, check out the next 
section. 




Turning yow hobby into a business 

Admit it, you've got a hobby; everyone does! Did you collect stamps or coins 
as a kid? Play with Barbie dolls? Maybe your hobby is cars? Did you inherit a 
load of antiques? Been collecting figurines for a few years? eBay.co.uk has a 
market for almost anything. 

You can't possibly be an expert on everything. You need to keep up-to-date 
on the market for your items, and following more than four or five basic item 
groups may divert your attention from selling. 

Selling within a particular category or two can be a good idea for repeat busi- 
ness. Should you decide to major in miscellany and sell anything and every- 
thing, you may not realise the highest possible prices for your items. If you 
have a source that permits you to buy items at dirt-cheap pricing, however, 
you may not mind selling at a lower price. 

Collectibles: Big business on eBay 

The story goes that Pierre Omidyar started eBay with the idea to trade col- 
lectible Pez dispensers (actually, the first item ever sold on eBay was a broken 
laser pointer). eBay.co.uk now lists countless categories of collectibles (see 
Figure 1-2), and those categories are divided into many times more categories, 
sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories. Almost anything that you'd want to 
collect is here, from advertising memorabilia to Girl Scout badges to Zippo 
lighters! 

If you have a collection of your own, eBay.co.uk is a great way to find rare 
items. Because your collection is something dear to your heart and you've 
studied it on and off for years, you can probably call yourself an expert. 
Bingo - you're an expert at something! Hone your skills to find things in your 
area of expertise at discount prices (you're liking this more and more, aren't 
you?) and then sell them on eBay for a profit. Start small and start with some- 
thing you know. 



If there's one thing you knovi, it's fashion! 

Are you one of those people who just knows how to put together a great 
outfit? Do you find bargains at charity shops but people think you've spent 
hundreds on your garb? Do you know where to get hold of end-of-line 
designer gear? Looks like you've found your market (see Figure 1-3). 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business / f) 



Figure 1-2: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

Collectibles 

hub with 

links to 

categories. 



eb 



home nav ii^jiiiji 



.co.uk 



My eBay Community Help 



|Siart ii6w search Search | 

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Hello. danmatthews5IJ! Zw.lS-JJI 



Collectables 



Cjttgoile* within Collectnliles 

Advertising 

Chemist 

Distillery/ Spirits 

Drinks 

Fashio n ' Clothing 



Transport aTion 
Other Advertising 

ftiiiin.ils 

Birds 

Cats 

Dinosaurs 

Dogs 

Farm/ Couti ' 1 '- ■;;;-- 

Fish/ Marine 

iLSH ! JJS-L.SLJir'il : Jiii!i : 

Taxidermy 

Wild Animals 

Other Animals 



| Collectables 



JiikehOHes 

Machines 

Pv.ts: Manuals/ Acct 

'vihi- Jukeboxes 

Keyiiin|s 

Kitclieiialij 



Bread Boards 
Butter/ Cheese 



Butter Pats 

Co ok ware 

Egg Cups 

Fridge Magnets 

Grinders 

Jelly Moulds 

■ ':-'.:-,- .■: ■ -:;■■:■■ 



Mut 

Napkin Rings 

Mut Crackers 



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Buddhism 
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Buy as many of those stylish designer dresses as you can, and set them up on 
the mannequin you've bought to model your fashions for eBay photos. (For 
more on setting up fashion photos on eBay, check out Chapter 11.) Within a 
week, you just may be doubling your money - 'cause sweetie-darling, who 
knows fashion better than you? 



Figure 1-3: 

eBay.co.uk 

area for 

clothing, 

shoes, and 

accessories. 



Clothes, Shoes & Accessories 



r 



| Clothes, Shoes a Accessories ~z\ Search | 



lilies wtlhin LI clli ti, Sim-is 1 Accessories 



Boys' Clothing 

Age 2-3 



Ape 5-6 



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■-■ .:■ ." : 

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Age 15-16 
'.'■■ '■ :■ '-■■■:,' 



Boys' Shoes. 

Size 1 (EU17) 

Size 2 (EU 161 
Size 3 (EU 19) 
Size4(EU21) 

Size 5 (EU22) 

Size 6 (EL) 23) 

Size 7 fEL)241 

SizeB (BJ25) 

Size 9 (EL) 27) 

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Stage/ Theatrical Costumes 



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Wallets 

Wristbands 

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Casual Shirts 



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Handbags 
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16 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



If a bad, a Wheel, or competition is involved - it's for you 

Many men like to watch sport, play sport, and look good while they're doing 
it - opening up venues for a profitable empire on eBay.co.uk. We don't want 
to leave out all the women out there who excel and participate in many 
sports. Women may have even more discriminating needs for their sporting 
endeavours! Your golf game may stink - but you do make a point to at least 
look good when you go out there, with respectable equipment and a fabulous 
outfit. 

eBay.co.uk has an amazing market for football, rugby and tennis equipment - 
and that's the tip of the iceberg. The last time we looked, golf items totalled 
almost 20,000 listings! What a bonanza! New stuff, used stuff - it's all selling 
on eBay (see Figure 1-4). All this selling is enough to put your local pro shop 
out of business - or perhaps put you in business. 



Including the whole (amity in the business 

Sometimes just the idea of a part-time business can throw you into a tizzy. 
Don't you have enough to do already? School, work, football practice, kids 
glued to the TV - you may sometimes feel as if you've no time for family time. 
However, the importance of family time is what brought us to eBay in the first 
place. We were working long hours in our own businesses, and at the end of 
the day, when the kids wanted to go shopping, perhaps for some Hello Kitty 
toys or a Barbie doll, we were often just too tired. 



Figure 1-4: 

Sporting 

goods on 

eBay.co.uk. 



Sporting Goods 



r 



Car&tjeiies within S|}nrriruj "Snods 

■ American Footh ill • 

Balls 
Caps 
Clothing & Footwear 



i Aidieiy 

Arrows, Flights & Shafts 



Badminton 

EiJi":'nr,iji"iJ.":'eU: 

■ :■■ ■ ■■ ,=.:JO ,,-. 

Clothing S, f 

Nets 

Rackets 

Shuttlecocks 

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Basehall 



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Fishing 

. j & Footwear 
V is hi rig 



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Vintage 

Qlher Fishing 



i SCUBA A Siioikellin.i 

Dry Suits & Under Suits 

Equipment 

Wet Suits 

Videos, DVDs A. Books 

Other SCUBA 
-■ l .'iUlJIHI 



.... ^DVD 
Wristbands 
■■'■'''.'' ■ ■ 



Clothes &Hats 
Gloves 

Luggage. Baas & Racks 
Poles 

■'-■ S^riy 
Ski? 
Ski Bindings 




• ^* Women's 

Baby Clothes Men's Clothes 

.3 ► St o 

Health 

» Beauty Carder. 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business / / 



One of us, Marsha, has a great story: 

I'd heard about AuctionWeb from a friend and had bought some things online 
for my own collections. (Okay, you got me; I collected Star Trek stuff- call me 
geek with a capital G.) I'd also browsed around the site and found some popu- 
lar toys selling for reasonable prices. So one evening I introduced my daugh- 
ter to eBay, and life has never been the same. We'd go to toy shops together 
immediately they opened on Saturday morning, so we'd get first dibs on ship- 
ments of the hottest, newest toys. My daughter headed for dolls, and I'd go to 
the action figures. After buying several items, we'd go home, and post them 
for sale on eBay. We made money, yes, but the best part was our toy runs - 
they will always remain a special memory. 

My daughter has since graduated from university (she majored in business 
and marketing - must have been inspired by our eBay enterprise) but she 
still phones home when she finds a hot CD or a closing-down sale. My 
daughter and I still purchase and list items together. The family that eBays 
together . . . always does. 

This short trip down memory lane has a point: A family business can suc- 
ceed, and everyone can enjoy it. An adult can be in charge of the financing 
and the packing while a youngster can look up postcodes on the Internet and 
put pins in a 4' x 5' map showing every town that we bought or sold from. 
Children can learn some excellent lessons in marketing, advertising, and 
geography, all in one go. 

Toys, books, and music 

Having children in your home brings you closer to the latest trends than you 
can ever imagine. We remember sitting in a cafe a couple of years ago watch- 
ing some dads and their sons pouring over notebooks full of Pokemon cards. 
(Actually, the kids were off playing somewhere, and the dads were coveting 
the cards.) 

And what about Star Wars? Star Trek? Men in Black? Can you say action fig- 
ures? (If boys have them, they're not dolls - they're action figures.) If you 
have access to the latest and greatest toys, buy them up and sell them to 
those who can't find them in their neck of the woods. 

Is your home one of those where books pile up all over the place? If your chil- 
dren have outgrown educational books (even university textbooks), they can 
be turned into a profit. Remember that not every book is a classic that needs 
to be part of your library forever. Let another family get the pleasure of shar- 
ing children's tales! 

If anything piles up faster than books, it's CDs, videos, and DVDs. Somehow 
the old lambada or macarena music doesn't hold the magic it once did and 
those pre-school videos drive you insane. You can get rid of your own items 
and find plenty of stock at car boot sales - buy them cheap and make a 
couple of quid. 



/ q Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Selling children's clothes 

Last time we looked there were more than 42,000 baby clothes auctions in 
progress - and the bidding was hot and heavy. For stay-at-home parents, sell- 
ing baby and children's clothing is a great way to pick up extra income. 

If you've had a baby, you know all too well that friends and relatives shower 
new mums with lots of cute outfits. If you're lucky, your baby gets to wear 
one or two of these outfits (maybe only for a special picture) before outgrow- 
ing them. These adorable clothes can earn you a profit on eBay.co.uk. Many 
parents, with children a few steps behind yours, are looking for bargain cloth- 
ing on eBay - a profitable hand-me-down community. As your children grow 
up (and out of their old clothes), earn some money while helping out another 
parent. 



Brinqinq qow business to eBayxoMk 

Do you already have a business? eBay.co.uk isn't only a marketplace where 
you're able to unload slow or out-of-season merchandise. You can also set up 
your shop on eBay (see Figure 1-5). An eBay shop allows you to list a fixed- 
price item at a reduced fee and keep the item online until it sells. When you 
run your regular auctions for special items, they have a link to your shop, 
thereby drawing in new shoppers to see your merchandise. 



Figure 1-5: 

eBay.co.uk 

shops 

central. 



Seaichfin Items in Shops 



t\ Search L-fjr 



f M '" M — 



I 

(^Shop name 

<~' Shaps- with matching itern& 
Search Shops | 

Shops Directoiy 
flniii | ues & Art 
A hum ii olive 



Magazines 

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Irnhiaii-il 
Clothes. Shoes 8 



Cuius 
Collect.ihle; 



5l S.mderson 

Faqrc Store 



L_'. |lMl,n* 



( Sjjm-T.jaarif I 






See All Anchoi Shops 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business / y 



Here are a few ways you can expand your current business with eBay.co.uk: 

u* Opening a second shop on eBay.co.uk: How many people run shops 
that sell every item, every time? If you're a retailer, you've probably 
made a buying mistake. Maybe the item that isn't selling in your shop 
is selling like hotcakes in similar shops elsewhere in the country. eBay 
gives you the tools to sell those extra items to make room for more of 
what sells at your home base. 

Perhaps you just need to raise some cash quickly. eBay has tens of 
thousands of categories in which you can sell regular stock or special- 
ity items. For a caveat on items you're forbidden to sell, check out 
Chapter 4. 

v* Selling by mail order: If you've been selling by mail order, what's been 
holding you back from selling on eBay? Listing your item on eBay is 
much cheaper than running an ad in any publication. Plus, on eBay, you 
get built-in buyers from every walk of life. If your item sells through mail 
order, it will sell through eBay. 

v* Licensed estate agents: Plenty of land, houses, and flats are selling on 
eBay.co.uk right now. List your properties online so that you can draw 
from a nationwide audience and get more action. You can read more 
about selling property on eBay in Chapter 2. 

You won't find a cheaper landlord than eBay. Jump over to Chapter 5 if you 
really can't wait for more information about how to set up your eBay shop. 



Getting Ready to Sell 



We've heard many sellers-to-be say they want to start a business on eBay 
so that they can relax. Since when is running any business a way to relax? 
Granted, you don't need a whole lot of money to get started on eBay.co.uk 
and you don't have a boss breathing down your neck. But to run a successful 
eBay business, you need drive, determination, and your conscience to guide 
you, as well as a few solid tools, such as a computer and an Internet connec- 
tion. In this section, we give you the low-down on these things and more. 



Computer hardware 



First, you need a computer. In our basic assumptions about you (see this 
book's Introduction), we think that you have one and know how to use it. 
Your computer doesn't have to be the latest, fastest, and best available - 



20 P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




but it does help if it has a good deal of memory to process your Web brows- 
ing and image touch-ups. One of our eBay selling computers is an antique 
Pentium 3, an absolute dinosaur next to my new 4.3GHz model. But combined 
with a speedy Internet connection, my little machine enables me to run many 
eBay auctions easily. 

Hard drives are getting cheaper by the minute and the bigger your hard 
drive, the more space you have to store images for your auctions. (Individual 
pictures shouldn't take up much space because each should max at 50K.) A 
warning: The bigger your hard drive, the more chance for making a mess of it 
by losing files. When you get started, set up a sensible filing system by using 
folders and sub-directories. 



Check out Chapter 11 for details of the other stuff you may need, such as a 
scanner and a digital camera. 



Connecting to the Internet 

If you've been on eBay for any length of time, you know that your Internet 
connection turns into an appendage of your body. If your connection is down 
or you can't log on due to a power cut, you can't function and instead floun- 
der around, babbling to yourself. I understand because I've been there. If 
you're selling in earnest, pull the plug on your dial-up connection unless you 
have no choice. 




Before investing in any broadband connection, visit www . broadband 
checker .co.uk (see Figure 1-6) and check out details of ISPs in your area. 
Alternatively, www . broadband .co.uk allows you to compare and contrast 
the connections available. You can also find a broadband beginners' guide at 
http://www.broadband.co.uk/guide.jsp, in case you're not sure about the ins 
and outs of high-speed Internet connections. 



blat'Up connections 

If you must use a dial-up connection, avail yourself of the many free trials 
that different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer to see which one gives 
your computer the fastest connection. After you find the fastest, be sure that 
the connection is reliable and has at least a 99 per cent uptime rate - other- 
wise you could be in for frustrating delays. 

Most of the UK still logs on to the Internet with a dial-up connection, so what 
can be so wrong? Yet, this type of connection is painfully slow. An auction 
with lots of images can take minutes to load. The average eBay user wants 
to browse many auctions and doesn't wait while your images load; he or she 
just goes to the next auction. 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business J? 7 



Figure 1-6: 

The search 

page on 

www. 

broadband 

checker. 

co.uk 



Broadband checker 



Compare UK Broadband Providers 



Check Broadband Availability and Services 
UK Postcode |~~ 



Phone number [^ * Dp ii D 

©Home C Business 



Save up to £200 with exclusive offeis 

IVe fafte your •vviLy se/JcysV - we on^ -use ift/s 
information to check availability. 



Easy comparison of broadband services from UK Internet seivice providers. 

performs 3 live availability check far broadband ADSL, C.iMe arid Satellite. Compare 
offers from several major service providers including Tiscoli, ET, Wmiiidoo, Vir-jin.net ntl:lioiii«, Telewest 
bkieyomkr and more. We now also check for LLU broadband services from UK Online and HomeChoice. 

You can save yourself endless hours checking and searching for the h ast of fers availa ble in you; 1 ares . 



To make the best use of your time when running your auctions and conducting 
research, you need to blast through the Internet - answering e-mails, loading 
images, and conducting your business without waiting around for snail-pace 
connections. Common quibbles from dial-up users are that transfer speeds are 
too slow and that their telephone lines are tied up during a session, so they 
can't even use the phone! Although a modem is supposed to link up at 56K, 
the highest connection I've ever experienced on a dial-up was 44K - much too 
slow! 



bSL 

A confusing number of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) flavours (ASDL, IDSL, 
SDSL, and more) are available nowadays, ranging from reasonably priced to 
out of sight. DSL, when it works as advertised, is fast and reliable. A DSL line 
depends on the reliability of your telephone service: Crackling or unreliable 
phone lines can be a barrier to using it. 

The main problem with a DSL connection is that your home or office needs to 
be within a certain distance from your local exchange. This distance is usually 
several thousand feet and shouldn't be a problem for most people, but it might 
be worth checking with your chosen ISP if you live in a more remote area. The 
service runs from about S10 a month, but it usually costs more, especially if 
you get DSL through a booster that boosts the signal to a location farther away 
than the minimum 18,000-foot border. 

If you can get it, true DSL service can give you a connection as fast as 1.5MB 
per second download. (IDSL is only 144K.) 



22 P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



J»NG/ 




We had DSL for about a year and was initially blown away by the speed. 
Unfortunately, every time it rained our service went out. We had to call time 
after time to get a service call. Sadly, this is a well-known drawback of DSL. 
Your local telephone company (Telco in DSL-speak) owns your home or office 
phone lines. Because DSL goes over POTS (plain old telephone service), your 
DSL provider has to negotiate connection problems with the people at your 
telephone company. As you can guess, one company often blames the other 
for your problems. 

A friend of ours tried to get around this issue by getting DSL from the local 
phone company, which sounded great to us. Unfortunately, this arrangement 
turned out to be not so great because local phone companies tend to form 
companies to handle high-speed connections. So even though the two com- 
panies are technically the same, the two still argue about who's responsible 
for your problems. Broadband with this much difficulty can be too much 
trouble. 

Digital cable 

Eureka, we think we've found the mother lode of connections: cable. If you 
can get cable television, you can probably get a blazingly fast cable Internet 
connection. Your cable company is probably replacing old cable lines with 
newfangled digital fibre optic lines. These new lines carry a crisp digital TV 
signal and an Internet connection as well. (These fancy new lines have plenty 
of room to carry even more stuff, and hot new services are being introduced 
all the time.) 

Digital cable Internet connections are generally fast and reliable - you can 
download data at 1844 kilobauds per second. Compare that speed to the old- 
fashioned baud rate of dial-up (remember the old 300 baud modems?). And, 
the service is usually very reliable. Digital cable usually comes as a package 
with Internet, a phone line, and multi-channel digital TV, so prices vary and 
it's worth browsing for deals that suit your particular needs. 

As far as the myth about more users on the line degrading the speed, a cable 
connection is more than capable of a 10Mbps transfer - that's already about 
10 times faster than DSL. A lot of degrading would be necessary to noticeably 
slow down your connection. (Your computer still has to load the browser.) 



Choosing your eBayxo.uk user W 

'What's in a name?' On eBay, there's a whole lot in your name! When you 
choose your eBay user ID, it becomes your name - your identity - to all those 
who transact with you online. These people don't know who you are; they 
know you only by the name they read in the seller's or bidder's spot. 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business ^3 



The low-down on user IDs 



When choosing your user ID, keep the follow- 
ing points in mind: 

«" Your ID must contain at least two characters. 

«" eBay displays your ID in all lowercase letters. 

*<" You may use letters, numbers, and any 
symbol except® and &. 

(<" You can't use URLs as your ID. 

*<" You can't use the word eBay'm your user ID; 
that privilege is reserved for eBay employees. 

*<" You can changeyour ID every 30days if you 
want to. When you do, you get a special 



icon next to your name, signifying that 
you've changed to a new ID. Yourfeedback 
profile (permanent record) follows you to 
your new ID. 

j«* Spaces aren't allowed; if you want to use 
two words, you can separate them by using 
the underscore key (press Shift+hyphen to 
type the underscore key). You may not use 
consecutive underscores. 

i^ Don't use a name that's hateful or obscene; 
eBay (and the community) just doesn't 
permit it. 




Ever wonder why you don't see many banks named Joe and Fred's Savings 
and Investments? Even if Joe is the president and Fred is the chairman of the 
board, the casual attitude portrayed by their given names doesn't instil much 
confidence in the stability of the bank. Joe and Fred might be a better name 
for a plumbing supply company - or a great name for blokes who sell plumb- 
ing tools on eBay! Joe and Fred strike us as the kind of friendly, trustworthy 
fellas who might know something about plumbing. 

Does your retail business have a name? If you don't have your own business 
(yet), have you always known what you'd call it if you did? Your opportunity 
to set up your business can start with a good, solid respectable sounding 
business name. If you don't like respectable (it's too staid for you), go for 
trendy Who knew what a Napster was? Or a Kelkoo? Or a Bubblefast, which 
is a popular shipping supplier among eBay users in the US. 

Are you selling flamingo-themed items? How about pink flamingos for your sell- 
ing identity? Be creative; you know what name best describes your product. 

Stay away from negative sounding names. If you really can't think up a good 
user ID, using your own name is fine. 

eBay.co.uk protects and does not reveal your e-mail address. If another user 
wants to contact you, he or she can do so by clicking your user ID. The e-mail 
is sent to you through eBay's e-mail system. 



£[1 Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




If you decide to change your user ID, don't do it too often. Customers recog- 
nise you by name, and you may miss some repeat sales by changing it. 
Besides, eBay places a special icon next to your user ID on the site to show 
others that you've changed your ID. This icon sticks with you for 30 days. 



Finding yow eBayxoMk feedback 

The number that eBay lists next to your name is your feedback rating; see 
Figure 1-7 for a sample rating. Anyone on the Internet has only to click this 
number to know how you do business on eBay - and what other eBay users 
think of you. At the top of every user's feedback page is an excellent snap- 
shot of all your eBay transactions for the past six months. For the low-down 
on feedback, go to Chapter 3. 



Figure 1-7: 

Sample 

eBay 

feedback 

rating. 



Member Profile: marsha_c (2743 if ) <t'g!B£' mB ■ 
2743 Recent Ratings 



Feedback Score: 
Positive Feedback 

Members who left a positive: 
Members who left a negative: 

All positive feedback received: 

Learn about what these numbersmea 



100% 

2743 






Past 
Month 


Past 
S Morihs 


Past 
12 Months 


U positive 


4B 


384 


723 


© „,ut„l 











^p negative 











Bid Retractions 


Past 6 morth 


i):0 






If you're really serious about this business thing, and your feedback rating 
isn't as high as you'd like it to be, go online and buy some stuff. Even though 
eBay.co.uk now distinguishes between Buyer and Seller feedback, the num- 
bers still grow. Feedback should always be posted for both buyers and sell- 
ers. Every positive feedback increases your rating by +1; a negative decreases 
it by -1. To get a high rating, rack up those positives. 



Making \lour Auctions 
Run More Smoothly 



In this section, we discuss a few more niceties you need to round out your 
eBay.co.uk home base. The following tools are important, but you must 
decide which ones you'll use. Some people prefer a totally automated office 
while others like to do things the old-fashioned way. One of our favourite 
eBay PowerSellers works with file folders, a hand-written ledger book, and 
hand-written labels. If pen and paper make you happy, do it your way. I'm 
going to suggest a few options that ease the pain of paperwork. 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business 23 



Software you can use 



Software is now available to accomplish just about anything. An all-encom- 
passing software package exists that can help you with your auction, right? 
Well, maybe. Whether you use it depends on how much you want your soft- 
ware to do and how much of your business you want to fully control. In this 
section, we describe some software examples that you may find useful. 

Auction management 

Auction management software can be a very good thing. This software can 
automate tasks and make your record keeping easy. You can keep track of 
inventory, launch auctions, and print labels using one program. Unfortunately, 
most of these programs can be daunting when you first look at them (and 
even when you take a second look). 

You have choices to make regarding the software: How much are you willing 
to spend, and do you want to keep your inventory and information online? 
Maintaining your listing information online enables you to run your business 
from anywhere; you just log on and see your inventory. Online management 
software is tempting and professional, and may be worth your time and 
money. 

A good many sellers prefer to keep their auction information on their own 
computers. This method is convenient and allows sellers to add a closer, 
more personal touch to their auctions and correspondence. Some people say 
that keeping information local, on their own computer, is more suited to the 
small-time seller, but we think it's a matter of preference. 

In Chapter 9, we discuss the wide selection of management software avail- 
able, including AuctionWorks.com, Auction Wizard 2000, and the eBay-owned 
Selling Manager. 

HTML software 

You may want to try some basic HTML software to practise your ad layouts. 
We tell you where to find some templates in Chapter 11, but you'll want to 
preview your auctions before you launch them. 

You can use a full-blown Web page software package, such as FrontPage, to 
check out how your auction will look, or you may want to keep things simple. 
We use software called CuteHTML because it's about as simple as it gets. Go 
to the following to download a 30-day free trial: 

www. globalscape . com/cutehtml 

If you like this software package, you can buy it for around S15. 



26 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Spreadsheets and bookkeeping 

Many sellers keep their information in a simple spreadsheet program such as 
Excel. The program has all the functionality you need to handle inventory 
management and sales info. 

For bookkeeping, we use QuickBooks. This program is straightforward, but 
only if you have a basic knowledge of accounting. QuickBooks also integrates 
with spreadsheets. In Chapter 16, we discuss accounting software such as 
QuickBooks and Microsoft Money in some detail. 



Collecting the cash 



Credit cards are the way to go for the bulk of your auctions. Often, credit 
cards make the difference between a sale and no sale. People are getting 
savvy (and more comfortable) about using their credit cards online because 
they're becoming better informed about the security of online transactions 
and certain guarantees against fraud. So although you may truly love money 
orders, you need to take credit cards as well. In this section, we discuss 
another decision you need to make: Do you want your own private merchant 
account or would you rather run your credit card sales through an online 
payment service? For more about these options, read on. 

Online payment services 

Until you hit the big time, you may want to go with the services of an online 
payment service such as the eBay-owned PayPal. PayPal offers excellent ser- 
vices, and their rates are on a sliding scale, according to your monthly cash 
volume. Online payment services accept credit cards for you; they charge 
you a small fee and process the transaction with the credit card company. 
The auction payment is deposited in an account for you. Unless your sales go 
into tens of thousands of pounds a month, an online payment service can be 
more economical than your own merchant account. For more about these 
services and accounts, see Chapter 13. 

\lour ovin merchant account 

As you may or may not know (depending on the amount of spam in your 
e-mail), thousands of merchant credit card brokers guarantee that they 
can set you up so that you can take credit cards yourself. These people are 
merely middlemen. You have to pay for the brokers' services and it is wise 
to keep in mind that some of these brokers are dependable businesses while 
others are nothing more than hustlers. If you have decent credit, you don't 
need these people: Go straight to your bank! 



Chapter 1: Using eBay.co.uk to Launch Your Business 2 / 



Your bank knows your financial standing and credit worthiness better than 
anybody. Your bank is, therefore, the best place to start to get your own 
merchant account - an account in which your business accepts credit cards 
directly from your buyers. You pay a small percentage to the bank, but it's 
considerably less than you pay to an online payment service. Some banks 
don't offer merchant accounts for Internet transactions because ultimately 
the bank is responsible for the merchandise related to the account if you 
fail to deliver the goods. Remember that your credit history and time with 
the bank play a part in whether or not you can get a merchant account. 

The costs involved in opening a merchant account can vary but you need at 
least £200 to get started. 

Nine banks currently offer Internet merchant accounts. You need to set up an 
Internet merchant account even if you already have an account for face-to- 
face transactions. On top of the £200-ish sign-up fee, expect to pay additional 
day-to-day charges based on either a fixed fee or a percentage of your sales. 
For example, credit card payments often attract a commission fee, while fixed 
fees often apply to debit card transactions. 

Setting up a merchant account is quite an investment in time and effort. In 
Chapter 13, we get into the details of a merchant account and explain exactly 
where all these costs go. 



Home base: \lour Web site 

eBay.co.uk offers you a free page - the About Me page - that's the most impor- 
tant link to your business on eBay (see Chapter 3 for more information). The 
About Me page is part of your eBay.co.uk shop if you have one. You can insert 
a link on your About Me page that takes bidders to your auctions. You can link 
also to your own Web site from the About Me page! 

If you don't have your own Web site, I recommend that you get one, espe- 
cially if you're serious about running an eBay business. Check out Chapter 8, 
where I provide some tips on finding a Web host and a simple way to put up 
your own Web site. 

You can keep your complete inventory of items on your Web site and list 
them as auctions or in your eBay.co.uk shop as their selling season comes 
around. No listing or final value fee is due when you have repeat customers 
on your Web site. 



£Q Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 

Setting up your shop 

Office and storage space are a must if you plan to get big. Many a business 
was started at the kitchen table (that's how Pierre started eBay), but to be 
serious with a business, you must draw definite lines between your home life 
and your online ventures. Concentrating when you have a lot of noise in the 
background is difficult, so when I say draw a line, I mean a physical line as 
well as an environmental one. 

\lour dedicated office 

You must first separate the family from the hub of your business. Many eBay 
sellers use a spare bedroom As time progresses and your business grows, 
you may have to move, maybe into your garage. Remember, you'll need elec- 
tricity and phone lines, lighting and furniture. And don't forget storage space 
for your saleable items. 

^NEC/) One PowerSeller that we know moved all the junk out of his cellar and set up 
\^ shop there. He now has three computers and employs his wife and a part-time 
lister (who put his auctions up on eBay) to run the show. This guy's cellar 
office is networked and is as professional as any office. 

\lour eBay room 

If you're able to set up an office, your storage space should be ensured for a 
while. For a real business, a cupboard just won't do. Seclude your stuff from 
your pets and family by moving it into another room and get shelving to 
organise your merchandise and admin properly. We talk more about organis- 
ing your business in Chapter 17. 




Chapter 2 

eBay.co.uk Business Basics 



In This Chapter 

Finding the right category on eBay.co.uk 

Figuring out fixed-price sales 

Selecting the auction type that works for you 

Pondering auction philosophies 

Breaking the rules: What you can't do on eBay 



I\ t first glance, eBay.co.uk is this behemoth Web site that seems way too 
w \ large for any novice to possibly master. In a superficial way, that image 
is correct. eBay is always growing and undergoing facelifts. Under all the cos- 
metic changes, however, you find the basics. eBay.co.uk is still the same old 
trading site: a community of buyers and sellers who follow the same rules 
and policies, making it a safe place to trade. 

As anything gets larger, it must become compartmentalised to be manage- 
able. The people at eBay have done this most handily. The original basic 
eight categories now number in the thousands. The category breakdown is 
clearer and more concise. When a trend begins, the eBay tech gurus evaluate 
the sales and, when necessary, add new categories. 

All this growth has forced eBay to expand. Aside from the traditional auc- 
tions, you'll now find Dutch, private, restricted, and more - it can get confus- 
ing! In this chapter, we explain the new eBay features by reviewing how the 
site does business. Armed with this knowledge, you can effectively do your 
business. 



Choosing Where to Position \lour Stuff 

The Internet is crowded with auctions, with many major portals including 
auctions as part of their site. Yet most bidders and sellers go to eBay. Why? 
On eBay.co.uk, more computers and electronics are sold than at Excite UK; 



3 v P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



more used cars are sold than at Autotrader; and probably more toys are sold 
on eBay than at HamleysToys. Whether you're selling car parts, toys, fine art, 
or property, you need to find your niche on eBay Deciding where to put 
your stuff for sale is pretty straightforward, isn't it? Not necessarily. The task 
is complicated by the inclusion of thousands of categories on the eBay 
Category Overview page, shown in Figure 2-1. 

Consider the example of a Harry Potter toy. Harry Potter toys are becoming 
increasingly popular with the continuing saga in both the books and the 
films. The easy choice is to list the item under Toys & Hobbies: TV, Film 
Character Toys: Harry Potter. But what about the category Collectibles: 
Fantasy, Mythical & Magic: Harry Potter? This is the point where you must 
decide whether you want to list in two categories and pay more (see the 
review of extra charges in Chapter 10) or count on the fact that your beauti- 
fully written Auction Title will drive those using the eBay.co.uk search engine 
directly to your item. 

eBay.co.uk supplies you with a great tool: Find a Main Category in the Sell Your 
Item pages. Type a few keywords for your item, and you're presented with a 
list of categories where items similar to yours are listed, as in Figure 2-2. 

So you aren't selling Harry Potter toys? Suppose you're selling a DVD of the 
film The Red Violin. Would listing it in DVD & Films: DVD be the right choice? 
Or would you reach the proper audience of category browsers in Music: 
Musical Instruments: String: Violin? 



Figure 2-1: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

Category 

Overview 

page; 

numbers 

next to 

categories 

reflect 

active 

auctions. 




Browse Categories 

Category Format Listings 

j AN Categories 3l Allllems ~E\ | All Active 

(*" Show number of items in category '" Show category numbers 



T | | Located in: United Kingdoi 



2_ 



Antiques & An (1 45279) 
[2403) 
Antique Furnitu (7010) 
(4395) 

(3520) 
(10662) 
Carpels/ Rugs (1077) 
Decorative Arts (1370) 
Ethnographic Antiques (735) 
Fabric/ Textiles (3625) 
Manuscripts (357) 
Maps (E049) 
■■\ ^ l--Uitime f114G) 
■■r ■-,--■■, t (3676) 
leer:;. U'i i :_me (597) 
SNver (7467) 
■ ■■ j. , „ . .i. ., 
Periods/ Styles (2066) 
Reproduction Antiques 1595) 
Other Antiques (14221) 
Art (70701) 
See all Antiques & Art ceteaories. . . 



(151083) 

(0299) 
' ■ ■■ - '■■ i- i - i ■ ■ ■'■' '■ 

DJ Equipment (8185) 
DVD & Home Cinema (6300) 
. J9U< '.'.. 
GPS (2784) 
Home Audi o/ Hi Fi (13740) 

15(15721) 

■ (40946) 

i*c (6730) 

^Studio (1761) 

yriBm (6436) 

-Ji ' Tevie, (7017) 

jjip-ve-t (4269) 

(4313) 



■ 
■ 

■ ■ 

■ 

TV Ai 

i $ ■ J. 

Vinta ge Ele 
Othei 



- (2011) 



■ 



(2285) 

Consumer Electronics categories. . . 





gdom J 


Show | 


Photoaranl 


X (121054) 

£ Telescopes [31861 


. oo :s .■. ■ 


nuals S, Magazines (1 1 53) 
(3683) 
-::*;;■: ■ (25577) 

.r>.- t j, ■ -(1141) 






era accessories (315111 




era Lwises (14131 


DiaitalM 


era Me-i :•■■■■ (B534) 
:■■■■■ .VuEeaJe-s (2539) 






Film Came 


- - : ■: r ; ; ■: f (8302) 




pmsnl -U Juhtina ["12131 


Tripods & 
Vintaae P 


mm^ (322) 
otcgiaphy (3094) 
oaraohv (69121 


See all Ph 


■ 



Pnmiy. Pim,-ehiii & 'ihss (1349591 
I I I I I |» Interne! 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics A / 









Find a Main Category 




8 categories found for h.icciii<H wise 

, -,, , :, :^|:, 1 :, : ,,,,^:1^,| ,,,:|[, , :1^,],, -- 1,^1-- :[„l 


EnTe i item keywords to find n category 






paccaraWase Find J tjj 




click Sell In This Gm<|oiy, or use different 
keywords to refine your search. 


For example, "gold bracelet" not "jewelry" 














Category 




f*" Pottery & Glass : Glass : Art Glass : French : Baccarat 

f Home & Garden : Home Decor : Other 

O Home Si Garden : Home Decor : Vase; : Other 


(31%) 


Figure 2-2: 


(3%) 


eBay.co.uk's 


f* Pottery & Glass : Glass Art Glass : North American : Other Makers 


(3%) 


category 


<~ Pottery & Glass : Glass Art Glass : Other Countries 


(3%) 


finder 


<~ Pottery & Glass : Glass Glassware : Contemporary Glass : Crystal 


(3%) 


feature. 


f Pottery & Glass : Glass Glassware : Elegant : Other Makers 


(3%) 




f* Pottery & Glass : Glass Glassware : Waterford 


(3%) 




Should a book on 1960s' fashion be placed in Books: Antiquarian and 
Collectible? Or would sellers have better luck going directly to the fans 
of 1960s' fashion in the category Clothing Shoes & Accessories: Vintage: 
Women's Clothing: 1965-76 (Mod, Hippie, Disco): Dresses. 

The popularity of categories varies from time to time. News stories, the time 
of year, hot trends, or whether Jamie Oliver makes a comment about some- 
thing all can change a particular category's popularity. How can you possibly 
know the best category for your item? Research your items regularly using 
our favourite tool: the marvellous eBay search engine. (Visit Chapter 7 for 
more about using the search engine.) After you find the right category for the 
item you're listing, give the search engine a try. However, be sure to occasion- 
ally try alternative categories as well. 

Even when you've been selling a particular item for a while - and doing well 
with it - selling your item in a different but related category can boost your 
sales. A little research now and then into where people are buying can go a 
long way to increasing your eBay sales. 



Setting a car} Go eBay Motors UK 

Anything and everything to do with cars can go in the eBay Motors UK cate- 
gory (see Figure 2-3). Following are just a few of the car-related items that fit 
in this category. 



3^- ^ art '" letting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Figure 2-3: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

Motors 

home page. 



eb 



■: ■ : : ; ■ "■■ 



A/IOtOrS Buy I Sell I My eBay I Community I Help 



[Start new search Search | 

Advance: : 




f How to Sell on eBay Motois 

£, Sell Nowl 

** Find out more about selling 



Car parts 

Got used car parts? eBay.co.uk has an enormous market in used car parts. 
One seller I know goes to scrap yards and buys wrecks — just to save some 
valuable parts that he can resell on eBay. 

New car parts are in demand, too. If you catch a sale at your local auto parts 
shop when it's blasting out door handles for a 1967 Corvette (a vehicle for 
which it's hard to find parts), picking up a few wouldn't hurt. Sooner or later, 
someone's bound to search eBay looking for them. If you're lucky enough to 
catch the trend, you can make a healthy profit. 

Cars 

Yes, you can sell cars on eBay. In fact, used car sales have skyrocketed online 
thanks to all the people who find eBay to be a trusted place to buy and sell 
used vehicles. Check out Figure 2-4 for an example of a used car auction. 
Selling vehicles on eBay is a natural business for you if you have access to 
good used cars, work as a mechanic, or have a contact at a dealership that 
lets you sell cars on eBay for a commission or on a consignment basis. (For 
the ins and outs of consignment selling, check out Chapter 6.) 

eBay Motors UK offers useful tools to complete your sale, including one-click 
access to vehicle status reports, vehicle listing templates, vehicle inspection 
and escrow services, and vehicle shipping quotes from dependable sources. 
Access eBay Motors UK and its services from the eBay.co.uk home page or go 
directly to motors . ebay . co . uk. 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics jj 



Figure 2-4: 

An eBay 

Motors UK 

auction for a 

previously 

owned car. 



2000 MERCEDES SLK 230 KOMPRESSOR AUTO BLACK FSH NO RES 

You niesrgiied in 




Currant bid" * 10. 100.0(1 

Place Bid > 



me 



■j-taii Lime 

History: 
High bidder: 



S lioms45 mins 

10-day listing. Ends |&-Jan-nGO0:l5:00G1vlT 
0B-Jan-06 20:15:00 GMT 
20 bids pi TO staling Iml) 
nanahcub.123 (0) 
Bourn 



lernouth 
iJmLGd kingdom 
Featured Category Auction Listing 
Post to: Will arrange for Iocs 

Postage costs: Pickup only - see it 
■#■ Postage payment details and 



pickup only (no postage). 
in description for details 



ll-sm n'jrr.L.f.i. 460230C430 
l V-|ichilii> ii*m in My eBay | Em-iil [m ; iri-srui 



Seller information 

damon2Ll06 (83 if) 

Feedback Score: 03 
Positive Feedback: 9fi.S% 

Member since 28-Ndv-03 in United kingdom 
Read feedback comments 
Add to Favourite Sellers 
As_k_sel hi a guestion 
view sellei's wliei item j 



PayPal Buyei Pioiection 

jpffi Free Coverage now up lo £500. 
See eligibility , 



Description 






Seller assumes all responsibility for 


Item Specifics - 


Cars & Other Vehicles. 






Manufacturer: 


Meic*iles Bern 


Condition: 


y&d 


Model: 


SLK-Class 


Number of Previous Cwi^s 


■i 


Type: 


Shorts' Convertible 


Warranty: 




Number af Doors: 2 


Engine Size: 


2.295 cc 


Mileage: 


70700 


Independent Vehif i* Inspect^ 


: - 


Model Year: 


2000 


MOT Expiration Date: 


Amj 200G 



<? IllTPIIIHt 



ctftBE/f 





Here are just a few things to keep in mind if you plan to sell cars on eBay: 

Iv* Selling a car on eBay Motors is a bit different from selling on regular 
eBay, mainly in the fees area. Take a look at Tables 2-1 and 2-2 for signifi- 
cant differences. Chapter 10 includes a table of all basic eBay fees for 
listings, options, and final values. 

v* To sell a vehicle on eBay Motors, you must enter the Vehicle Identification 
Number (VIN) on the Sell Your Item page. This way, prospective buyers 
can always access a Carfax report to get an idea of the history of the car. 

v* Shipping a vehicle is a reasonably priced alternative to trekking across 
the UK in order to pick up the vehicle of your dreams. You can make 
arrangements to transport a car quickly and simply. Expect to spend 
between 5100 and S500 on delivery charges depending on vehicle size (a 
bike costs a lot less than a van, for example) and how far away the desti- 
nation is. 

v* If your reserve price isn't met in an eBay Motors UK auction, you may 
still offer the vehicle to the highest bidder through the Second Chance 
option. More information on reserve price auctions is provided later in 
this chapter. You may also reduce your reserve during the auction if you 
feel that you set your target price too high. 



ju Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Table 2-1 




eBay.co.u 


k Motor Vehicle 


-Specific Insertion Fees 


Format 




Single 


Item Listing 


Multiple Item Listing 


Auction Style 




£6.00 




£6.00 multiplied by the number 
of vehicles listed. 


Buy It Now Or 


,ly 


£6.00 




£6.00 multiplied by the number 
of vehicles listed. 



Note: The reserve price fee for listings in the Cars, Commercial Vehicles, Motorcycles, and 
Caravans categories is £3.00 regardless of the reserve price level set. 



gm 




Table 2-2 


eBay. 


co.uk Motors Final Value Fees 


Closing Price 




Final Value Fee 


£0.01 -£1,999.99 




£15.00 


£2,000.00-£3,999.99 




0.75% 


£4,000.00 and above 




£30.00 



An item that you list on eBay Motors UK appears in any search, whether a 
potential buyer conducts a regular eBay search or executes a search in eBay 
Motors. 



Properties: Mot quite an auction 

eBay.co.uk Properties isn't quite an auction. Because of the wide variety of 
laws governing the sale of property eBay auctions of houses or land, for 
example, aren't legally binding offers to buy and sell. Putting your property 
up on eBay is an excellent way to advertise and attract potential buyers. 
When the auction ends, however, neither party is obligated (as they are in 
other eBay auctions) to complete the transaction. The buyer and seller must 
get together to consummate the deal. 

Nonetheless, eBay property sales are becoming more popular and while sales 
are small in number, they are growing steadily. You don't have to be a profes- 
sional estate agent to use this category, although closing the deal may be 
easier if you are. For about the cost of a newspaper ad - the insertion fee is 
fixed at S35 for property - you can sell your house, flat, land, or even time- 
share on eBay (see Figure 2-5) in the auction format. 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics jj 



Figure 2-5: 

Properties 

listed for 

sale on 

eBay.co.uk. 



All Items Auctions 



(property 

F SesrLh title and description 
Related Searches : ho-jses . rr; 

Matching Categories 
Piopeities 

UK& Ireland (10) 

Seaich Options 

Lo cation: 

T | European Union _^ 
r ItgiTis within 



i Un-,... 



| 20D ^J 



miles of |co E t«d^ 
Show only: 

f Items listed with PayPal 
f Buy It Now items 
r Set It Fast items 
|~~ Items listed as lots 
f Item condition 

| He* items only ^J 

|~ Completed listings 
[~~ Listirrgs 



32 items found for property in Pioperties 

List View | Picture Gallery 

compare | Item Title 



■ i ■ ■ 



Bills 



Sfirr l.y: |Time: ending soonest jj Customise Display 
Price Postage PayPal Time Lett j. 



r | 
r aa 

r £j 



Fifrin.li Fn>|perty l|n 






EtBBflgJd Pni | i{*ny foi Safcl Fi-n 
A |'-iiiiiiem in Te ne rife 



&■ \ 



Investment |m-peity. 'IJ'd jcjJS Wadd lalttl 

Woodland. Not balding d ^.-eiopm-Eni: rlc-1 



Z80(® -£86,166.70 ; 

Ztygft® £7.50 - 

£10.000.00 - 

£2.231.00 - 



Himse Bumjalnw Pn> | .eity FeTliiye Ovack 
Tinker Oln Deniz 

P"-:-:.-i,r.' w i >:-, 2300 qm Land / Swin-.rnin.j Pool 
from Pliuate 

FREEHOLD PROPERTY FOR SALE 

CENTRAL PORTUGAL 

^iM^v.i.TCC tTONF cottage, mo reserve 



1dD3li27m 
I d DSli Sim 
6d 22h 27m 

7d Dill 27m 



Fixed-Price Sates an eBay.co.uk 



To compete with fellow online giants such as Amazon and Yahoo!, eBay.co.uk 
now includes fixed-price sales on its site. Fixed-price sales are an extension of 
the eBay Buy It Now feature. You put an item up for sale at a fixed price, and 
buyers pay the price that you're asking. The process is as simple as that. You 
can also find fixed-price sales at the new eBay Shops. Each eBay shop is run 
by an eBay auction seller. eBay Shops has its own space on eBay, which is 
accessible in the following ways: 

v* Through the navigation bar by clicking Browse and then Shops 
«*" By clicking the eBay Shops link on the eBay.co.uk home page 
(-" By going straight to stores . ebay. co.uk from the Web 

Potential buyers can access your items from anywhere on the eBay.co.uk site. 
The cost of eBay Shops (see Tables 2-3 and 2-4) compares favourably with 
any of the Web's mega site shops. 



3 v P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Table 2-3 




eBay Shop Subscription 


Fees 


SAop Format 






Fee 




Basic 






£6.00/ month 




Featured 






£30.00 /month 




Anchor 






£300.00 /month 






Table 2-4 




eBay Shop Insertion Fees 


Duration 


Insertion Fee 


Surcharge 


Total 


30 days 


£0.05 




N/A 


£0.05 


90 days 


£0.05 




£0.10 


£0.15 


Good 'Til Cancelled* 


£0.05/30 days 


N/A 


£0.05/ 30 days 



Subscription fees begin after 30 days of trading. 



Types of eBay Auctions 



An auction is an auction is an auction, right? Wrong! eBay.co.uk has four 
types of auctions for your selling pleasure. Most of the time you run tradi- 
tional auctions, but other auctions have their place, too. When you have sold 
on eBay.co.uk for a while, you may find that one of the other types of auc- 
tions better suits your needs. In this section, we review these auctions so 
that you fully understand what they are and when to use them. 



Traditional auctions 



Traditional auctions are the bread and butter of eBay.co.uk. You can run a tradi- 
tional auction for 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days, and when the auction closes, the highest 
bidder wins. We're sure you've bid on several auctions and at least won a few. 
We bet you've also made money running some auctions of your own. 

You begin the auction with an opening bid, and bidders (we hope) bid up 
your opening price into a healthy profit for you. 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics A / 



Dutch auctions 



When you purchase a job lot of 500 kitchen knife sets or manage (legally, of 
course) to get your hands on a lorry-load of televisions that you want to sell 
as expeditiously as possible, the Dutch (multiple item) auction is the option 
you choose. In the Dutch auction (see Figure 2-6 for an example), which can 
run for 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days, you list as many items as you like, and bidders 
can bid on as many items as they like. The final item price is set by the lowest 
successful bid at the time the auction closes. 

For example, suppose you want to sell five dolls on eBay.co.uk in a Dutch auc- 
tion. Your starting bid is &5 each. If five bidders each bid 55 for one doll, they 
each get a doll for S5. But, if the final bidding reveals that three people bid S5, 
one person bid £7.50, and another bid £8, all five bidders win the doll for the 
lowest final bid of £5. 

In the following list, we highlight the details of the Dutch auction: 



u* The listing fee is based on your opening bid price (just like in a tradi- 
tional auction), but it's multiplied by the number of items in your auc- 
tion to a maximum listing fee of £2. 

\^ The final auction value fees are on the same scale as in a traditional 
auction, but they're based on the total cash amount of your completed 
auctions. 



Figure 2-6: 

A Dutch 

auction for 

a Royal 

Doulton 

plate. 



+ ■■ Back 10 llCi tii .iem:. Listed in cateac.tui Pot*eru. for^l-air. A &sr. *. :- c-:„o=i.air./ China > Roual Ccultc 

8 inch plate Larchmont by Royal Doulton DUTCH AUCTION 

You me signed in 




-.tail lime 

Quantity: 



£0.99 

Place Bid > 



2 ilnysG houis 

1D-daV listing Er.,1- IrKlan-fih ?tl l?00 l-MT 
08-Jan-06 20:19:00 GMT 
6 available 
Bidders list 
WOKING SURREY 



•% LaiaBi Pic 



Description 



Post to: Worldwide 

Postage costs: £2.35 - Royal Mail 1 st Class Standard 
-f- Postage, paVmenl details arid return hiotTC-V 



Item (lumber: 737rMXu2-:. 
W.llchthis hriii iri My eBay | Email to a friend 



Seller information 

besandburinies ( 1206 ^f ) 

Feedback Score: 1206 
Positive Feedback: 99.8% 

Member since 27-Nov-02 in United Kiligdor 
Read feedback comments 
Add to Favourite Sellers 
Ask seller a iiuesti oi; 



i! U:." Kiel's ^ii frl hems 

PayPal Bnyei Piotection 

@© Free_ti!aiiliii± i' (■"■"■■' up to £500. 
See eligibility , 



Seller assumes all responsibility for listing tins 



A side plat;: it!.j.-3i-*:Lin.»-;=;!t r:.s.;.r»;'+i^i-- ! ,=:'c ',:.y Koy,2! D -■ur^i:. i : it;i quality. About 8 inches in diameter This has been used and bears _=-.=tnc ut;-nsfl marks otherwise it is 
in good condition, no chips or cracks, bright colours aridguildmg 

This is an Ebay Dutch Auction, I have up to 6~ available. 

J , -*- ,j J! fhn> arLirjjJifi t ari the ^-orld -st- the- viiyers expense. 



jO P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




v* When bidders bid in your Dutch auction, they can bid on one or more 
items at one bid price. (The bid is multiplied by the number of items.) 

J-" If the bidding gets hot and heavy, re-bids must be of a higher total cash 
amount than the total of that bidder's past bids. 

v* Bidders may reduce the quantity of the items for which they're bidding 
in your auction, but the cash amount of the total bid price must be 
higher. 

v* All winning bidders pay the same price for their items, no matter how 
much they bid. 

v* The lowest successful bid when the auction closes is the price for which 
your items in that auction are sold. 

i*" If your item gets more bids than you have items, the lowest bidders are 
knocked out one by one, with the earliest bidders remaining on board 
the longest in the case of tie bids. 

J-" The earliest (by date and time) successful high bidders when the auc- 
tion closes win their items. 

j-" Higher bidders get the quantities they've asked for, and bidders can 
refuse partial quantities of the number of items in their bids. 

For a large quantity of a particular item, your Dutch auction may benefit from 
some of the eBay featured auction options detailed in Chapter 10. 



Reserve price auctions 



In a reserve price auction, you're able to set an undisclosed minimum price 
for which your item will sell, thereby giving yourself a safety net. Figure 2-7 
shows an auction in which the reserve has not yet been met. Using a reserve 
price auction protects the investment you have in an item. If, at the end of 
the auction, no bidder has met your undisclosed reserve price, you aren't 
obligated to sell the item and the highest bidder isn't required to purchase 
the item. 



For example, if you have a rare coin to auction, you can start the bidding at a 
low price to attract bidders to click your auction and read your infomercial- 
like description. If you start your bidding at too high a price, you may dis- 
suade prospective bidders from even looking at your auction, and you won't 
tempt them to bid. These prospective buyers may feel that the final selling 
price will be too high for their budgets. 

Everyone on eBay is looking for a bargain or a truly rare item. If you can com- 
bine the mystical force of both of these needs in one auction, you have some- 
thing special. The reserve price auction enables you to attempt - and 
perhaps achieve - this feat. 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics A y 



Figure 2-7: 

Note that a 
reserve has 
been set for 
this auction. 



2004 TRIUMPH DAYTONA 600 RED 

li!llm|ih ilaytona GOD 

You cue signed in 



vf^V 



4- Lafflj] Piciuie 



Time Is 



4 Iiqiiis50 niins 

7-dgy listing, Ends 13-Jan-Qt: 15 3n nn GMT 



Start time: 

History: 

'■ii.jfi fudd-ir 

item location hincklc-y. !.o'ci;5!'ri c -iii^ 



Q9-Jan-Q6 18:30:00 GMT 

23 bids ? ■ .L.OU < i' •■■:^iiiif| bid) 

cdh741 (□) 



Postr 



United Kmgdor 



Hem flUmUer 4E03573D68 



Woi.JHhis ilc-m in My eBay | Em 



Seller information 

— : : . . 

Feedback Score: 1 
Positive Feedback: ■100% 

Member since 08-Dec-05 in United 
Kingdom 

Registered as a private seller 
i. i. .- I ,. i . ,i 



Add to Favc- Li"' ;:.-.. 
Ask seller a uu; h stion 
view tiki's othei iienrs 



1 Standard Purchase Proi^ction Ottered 
i-mi ;.,jJi_more 



Postage costs: Check item description and payment instructions or 
contact seller for details 



--+■/ Postac 


e, pavr 


enl details a 


rid return bolicV 






Description (revised) 










Seller assume? all rr-sp.insibility fnr lifting Lin? ilsm 


i'.&m Specific* ■ •tfatora/ctes 












Manufacturer Triumph 






Condition: 




I is-. I 


Model DAYTQNA KID 






Number of Pr^viou 


UWliGrs: 


1 


Type: Super Sport 






Engine Size: 




539 cc 


Mileage: 2G25 






Power: 




115 Bli|> 


Model Year 200J 






Colour: 




Re<l 


DatG of 1 st Registration: 01 Oct 2004 






Metallic Paint: 






Ron--: -iiv.cnaodl maninl 






MflT Fyniratinn 11 = 


t<v 


•ion 5fil17 



The fees for a reserve price auction are the same as those for a traditional 
auction with one exception. eBay.co.uk charges between £2.00 and S100.00 
for the privilege of running a reserve price auction. When your item sells, 
you get that money back. Table 2-5 shows fees for reserve auctions. 



Table 2-5 


Reserve Auction Fees 


Reserve Price 


Fee (Refunded If Item Sells) 


£0.01-£49.99 


N/A 


£50.00-£4,999.99 


2% of the reserve price 


£5,000.00 and up 


£100.00 



Sellers who wish to use a reserve price must set the reserve price to be equal 
to or greater than S50. You are not allowed to set a reserve price level to be 
less than this value. 




The reserve price auction is a safety net for the seller but often an uncomfort- 
able guessing game for the prospective bidder. To alleviate buyer anxiety, 
many sellers put reserve prices in the item description, allowing bidders to 
decide whether the item fits into their bidding budgets. 



[l Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



*JABE* 




You can't use the reserve price option in a Dutch auction. 



Private auctions 




Bidders' names are often kept private when dealing in the expensive fine art 
world. Likewise, to protect the innocent, eBay private auctions don't place 
bidders' names on the auction listing. No one needs to know just how much 
you choose to pay for something, especially if the item is rare and you really 
want it. 

As a seller, you have the option (at no extra charge) of listing your auction as 
a private auction. 

The eBay.co.uk search page features an area where you can conduct a bidder 
search. You - and everyone else - can find the items that you bid on. If you're 
buying a present for a loved one, a private auction keeps your shopping a 
secret. 

The private auction is a useful tool for sellers who are selling bulk lots to 
other sellers. A private auction maintains the privacy of the bidders, and cus- 
tomers can't do a bidder search to find out what sellers are paying for the 
loot they then plan to re-sell on eBay. 

A great option for sales of items that are a bit racy or perhaps for purchases 
of items that may reveal something about the bidder, the private auction can 
save you the potential embarrassment associated with buying a girdle or 
buying the tie that flips over to reveal a half-nude female on the back. 

Although the private auction is a useful tool, it may intimidate the novice 
user. If your customer base comes from experienced eBay.co.uk users and 
you're selling an item that may benefit by being auctioned in secret, you 
might want to try this option. 



Restricted items 



eBay.co.ukdoes not permit the listing of erotica 
or sexually-orientated materials. If you can't 
imagine for yourself what this means, you can 
find more information on what's allowed and 
what's not in the eBay.co.uk help centre: 



http : / /pages . ebay . co .uk/help/in 
dex.html. Hazardous and perishable items 
are also restricted to varying degrees. For more 
information on what you can and can't sell on 
eBay, visit Chapter 4. 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics [1 / 



Rimninq \lour Auction 



The basic plan for running an auction is the same for everyone, except for 
decisions regarding the timing of the auction and the starting price. If you 
speak to 20 different eBay sellers, you'll probably get 20 different answers 
about effective starting bids and when to end your auction. Until you develop 
your own philosophy, here we give you the tools to make a sound decision. 

You can also successfully promote your auctions online and offline, and 
now you can legally offer your item to the next highest bidder if the auction 
winner doesn't come through with payment. We discuss a few of these ideas 
in this section. 




cjABE/f 




Influencing the bidding 



The most generally accepted theory about starting bids is that setting the 
bidding too high scares away new bids. Also, as in the case of the reserve 
price auction, if the bidding begins too high, novices may be afraid that the 
bidding will go too high and they'll never win the auction. 

Some sellers begin the bidding at the price they paid for the item, thereby 
protecting their investment. Starting at this price is a good tactic, especially 
if you bought the item at a price far below the current going rate on eBay. 

To determine the current going value for your item, we recommend using the 
Completed Auctions search, which we explain in Chapter 7. If you know that 
the item is selling on eBay for a certain price and that there is a demand for 
it, starting the bidding at a reasonably low level can be a great way to 
increase bidding and attract prospective bidders to read your auction. 

Years of advertising experience can't be wrong. If your item is in demand and 
people are actively buying, start the bidding low. Shops have done this for 
years with ads that feature prices starting at S9.99 or S14.99. Even television 
commercials advertising cars quote a low starting price. To get the car as 
shown in the ad, you may end up paying twice the quoted price. 

When sellers know that they have an item that will sell, they begin their bid- 
ding as low as a pound or even a penny. Because of the eBay proxy bidding 
system (which maintains the seller's highest bid as secret, increasing it incre- 
mentally when you're bid against), it takes more bids (due to the smaller bid- 
ding increments) to bring the item up to the final selling price. 



[l £ Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



The downside of bidding low is that new bidders unfamiliar with the system 
may bid only the minimum required increment each time they bid. New bid- 
ders may become frustrated and stop bidding because it might take them 
several bids to top the current bid placed by someone who's familiar with the 
proxy bid system. 

Table 2-6 details the proxy bidding increments. 



Table 2-6 


Proxy Bidding Increments 


Current Price 


Bid Increment 


£0.01 -£1.00 


£0.05 


£1.01 -£5.00 


£0.20 


£5.01 -£15.00 


£0.50 


£15.01-£60.00 


£1.00 


£60.01— £1 50.00 


£2.00 


£150.01 -£300.00 


£5.00 


£300.01 -£600.00 


£10.00 


£600.01 -£1,500.00 


£20.00 


£1,500.01 -£3,000.00 


£50.00 


£3,000.01 and up 


£100.00 



Auction timing 



Auction timing is a debatable philosophy - how long to run auctions and the 
best day to end an auction. You have to evaluate your item and decide the 
best plan: 



i*" One-day auction: This format can be very successful if you have an item 
that's the hot ticket for the moment on eBay.co.uk. We used this format 
when we sold some Friends TV show memorabilia. The 24-hour auction 
opened mid-day before the final show and ended the next day - at a very 
healthy profit! 

One-day auctions also give you the benefit of pushing your auction to 
the top of the heap in the listings. Because eBay defaults to show the 
items ending first at the top of the page Gust below featured auctions), a 
one-day listing posts higher! 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics &#3 




cflRER 




v* Three-day auction: If, as in the heyday of Beanie Babies, the item's price 
will shoot up immediately after you post it, a three-day auction works 
just fine. And three-day auctions are great for those last-minute holiday 
shoppers looking for hard-to-find items. 

The eBay.co.uk Buy It Now feature also gives your customers the chance 
to snap up late bargains. When you list your item for sale, set a price at 
which you will sell the item; this is your target price. This price can be 
any amount, and if someone is willing to pay, it sells. 

i*" Five-day auction: Five days gives you two days more than three and 
two days less than seven - that's about the size of it. If you just want an 
extended weekend auction, or if your item is a hot one, use a five-day 
auction. These auctions are useful during holiday rushes, when present 
buying is the main reason for bidding. 

J-" Seven-day auction: Tried-and-tested advertising theory says that the 
longer you advertise your item, the more people see it. On eBay, this 
theory means that you have more opportunity for people to bid for your 
item. The seven-day auction is a staple for the bulk of eBay vendors. 
Seven days is long enough to cover weekend browsers and short enough 
to keep the auction interesting. 

v* Ten-day auction: Many veteran eBay sellers swear by the ten-day auc- 
tion. The extra three days of exposure (it can encompass two weekends) 
can easily net you more profit. 

If you're selling an esoteric collectible that doesn't appear on eBay often, 
run a ten-day auction to give it maximum exposure. Start the auction 
on a Friday, so it will cover the aforementioned two weekends' worth 
of browsers. See eBay Timesaving Techniques For Dummies (Wiley) for 
opinions on how long to run an auction and what day or time to begin it. 



Your auction closes exactly 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days - to the minute - after you 
start the auction. Be careful not to begin your auctions when you're up late at 
night and can't sleep: You don't want your auction to end at two in the morn- 
ing when no one else is awake to bid on it. If you can't sleep, make your time 
productive and prepare listings ahead of time with the TurboLister program 
to prepare your auctions and upload them for future launching when the 
world is ready to shop. 

The specific day you close your auction can also be important. eBay.co.uk is 
full of weekend browsers, so including a weekend of browsing in your auction 
time is a definite plus. Often, auctions ending between Sunday afternoon and 
Monday morning benefit from this traffic and close with high bids. 

Do some research to determine the best times to run your auctions and for 
how long. In Chapter 10, we show you how to combine your search engine 
research with a special kind of statistical counter to help you identify the 
best closing time for your items. (See Chapter 7 for the details about using 
the search engine as a valuable research tool.) The best person to work out 



[l[l Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




the closing information for your auctions is you. Use the tools and over time 
you'll work out a pattern that works best for you. 

Is there a definite time not to close your auctions? Yes, experience has taught 
many sellers never to close an auction on a bank holiday. It may be bonanza 
sales time for high street shops, but eBay auction items closing on this day 
go at bargain prices. 



Marketing yow auctions 



How do you let people know about your auctions? What do you do if all 100 
million-plus users on eBay.co.uk happen to not be on the site the week that 
your items are up for sale? You advertise. 

Many mailing lists and newsgroups permit self-promotion. Find a group that 
features your type of items and post a bit of promotion. Advertising works 
best if you have your own Web site. Your site, which should be the hub for 
your sales, can give you an identity and level of professionalism that makes 
your business more official in the eyes of buyers. In Chapter 8, we detail the 
ins and outs of business sites on the Web. 

TipLink buttons 

eBay.co.uk supplies some nice link buttons (see Figure 2-8) that you can use 
on your Web site. Visit the following address to add these links to your site's 
home page: 

http : //pages . ebay . co .uk/ services /buyandsell/ link- 
buttons .html 



Pirates of the Caribbean, er, Carribean? 



Just before the Pirates of the Caribbeanf\\m pre- 
miered, Disneyland gave out exclusive film 
posters to their visitors. Ellen, savvy eBayer that 
she is, snagged several copies of the poster to 
sell on the site. She listed the posters (one at a 
time) when the film opened and couldn't get more 
than the starting bid, £4.99, for each of them. 

When Ellen searched eBay for pirates poster, 
she found that the very same posters with a 
misspelled title. Pirates of the Carribean, were 



selling for as high as £20 each. Ellen immedi- 
ately changed her auctions to have the more 
popular (misspelling) Carribean in the title and 
quickly saw those pound signs! After selling out 
her initial stock, Ellen found another seller who 
had 10 posters for sale - in one auction - with 
the proper spelling in the title. Ellen bought 
those posters as well (for £2 each) and sold 
them with misspelled titles on the site for 
between £8 and £15! 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics [1 f) 



Figure 2-8: 

The Shop 

eBay.co.uk 

with link 

buttons. 



eb 



horns pay ■ 



CO Ilk ^ u y ^ e " My eBay Community Help 



jStarl iiew seared Search | 

Advancer : 






Hello, danmat1hews50l 



Link your site to eBay 

With these buttons, you can: 



■ Promote items that you are selling on eBay, or 

■ Provide a direct link to the eBay home page at w 



Complete the form below to view easy instructions So install eBay buttons en your persona: web site. 
Select the button[s) you wish to display: 



: HTV1 



Links to the eBay home pat 






A customised link that goes directly lo a list ol items you have for sale 



URL of page(s) where you plan tc display buttons ire^uirud): 



■><"■« 



fffe » Interne! 




We're guessing that you already know all about your About Me page, a handy 
tool for marketing your auctions. In Chapter 3, we discuss the values of the 
About Me page. Link to your Web site from your little home page on 
eBay.co.uk. 

Here's a great way to market future auctions: When you're sending items after 
making a sale on eBay, include a list of items that you'll be selling soon (along 
with your thank you note, of course) - especially ones that may appeal to 
that customer. When you schedule your auctions, you're given the auction 
number before the item is listed. 



*\N6/ 




Do not link your auction to your Web site - it's against eBay policy to possibly 
divert sales away from the auction site. Do link from your About Me page. See 
the 'Linking from your auctions' section, later in this chapter, to find out just 
what you can and cannot link to and from. 



A second chance 



The Second Chance feature on eBay.co.uk helps sellers legitimise something 
that previously went on behind closed doors and in violation of eBay policy. 
When a winner doesn't complete a sale, the Second Chance feature allows 
sellers to offer the item to the next highest bidder. 



[l%) Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



You must still go through the proper channels and file your non-paying 
bidder notice with eBay. After you file your notice, you can then send a 
Second Chance Offer to any under-bidder no more than 60 days after the end 
of the auction. Your final value fee is based on the price you receive when the 
offer is accepted. 

In the Second Chance Offer scenario, the seller can leave two feedbacks: One 
for the winner (non-paying bidder) and one for the person who bought the 
item through the Second Chance Offer transaction. The bidder to whom you 
proffer your Second Chance Offer is covered by the eBay fraud protection 
programme. 

The Second Chance Offer feature does not apply to Dutch auctions. 



Listing Violations 



eBay.co.uk does not sell merchandise - it is merely a venue that provides the 
location where others can put on a giant, e-commerce party (in other words, 
sell stuff)- To provide a safe and profitable venue for its sellers, eBay must 
govern auctions that take place on its site. eBay makes the rules; we follow 
the rules. If we don't agree to follow eBay's rules, a safe and trusted eBay 
community can't exist. 



Listing policies 



eBay has some hard-and-fast rules about listing your items. You must list 
your item in the appropriate category (that makes sense), and we highlight 
here a few other rules that you should keep in mind when listing. What we 
discuss in this section isn't a definitive list of eBay listing policies and rules. 
Take time to familiarise yourself with the User Agreement (which details all 
eBay policies and rules) at the following: 

http : //pages . ebay . co . uk/help/policies /user-agreement .html 

We recommend regularly checking the eBay User Agreement for any policy 
changes. 

Choice auctions 

Your auction must be for one item only: the item that you specifically list in 
your auction. Giving the bidder a choice of items, sizes, or colours is against 
the rules. eBay protects you with its Purchase Protection programme, which 
covers all online eBay transactions. When you give your bidders a choice, it's 
an illegal sale on eBay and isn't covered. Any transaction that's negotiated 
outside the eBay system can lead to either misrepresentation or fraud - don't 
get caught up in that sort of grief and misery. 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics [1 ( 



If eBay catches you offering a choice, they'll end the auction and credit the 
insertion fee to your account. 

bupUcate auctions 

The theory of supply and demand is alive and well at eBay.co.uk. When 
people list the same items repeatedly they drive down the item's going price 
while ruining all the other sellers' opportunities to sell the item during that 
time frame. 





eBay.co.uk allows you ten identical listings at any time. If you list an item that 
many times, make sure you do so in different categories. Listing in different 
categories is a rule, but it also makes sense. Nothing drives down the price of 
an item faster than closing identical auctions, one after another, in the same 
category. eBay also requires that you list your auction in a category that's rel- 
evant to your item. 

If you have multiple copies of an item, a better solution than listing in differ- 
ent categories is to run a Dutch auction for the total number of items you 
have for sale. Or perhaps you can run two Dutch auctions in different (but 
appropriate) categories. 

If you're caught with more than ten identical auctions, eBay may end the 
additional auctions (any over ten) and it will credit the insertion fees. 

Pre-sate listings 

eBay doesn't like it when you try to sell something that's not in your hands 
(known as a pre-sale listing). Pre-sale listing is a dangerous game to play 
anyway. In many situations, being the first seller to put a very popular item 
up for sale can get you some pretty high bids. And if you can guarantee in 
your auction description that the item will be available to ship within 30 days 
of the purchase or the auction closing, you can run a pre-sale. However, we 
don't recommend even attempting a pre-sale listing if you're not completely 
sure that you'll have the item in time. 



Pre-selling: Not worth the hassle 



Jessica pre-sold Beanie Babies on eBay. She 
had a regularsourcethat supplied herwhenthe 
new toys came out, so she fell into a compla- 
cent attitude about listing pre-sales. Then one 
day, Jessica's supplier didn't get the shipment. 
Motivated by the need to protect her feedback 
rating (and by the fear that she'd be accused of 



fraud), Jessica ran all over town desperately 
trying to get the Beanies she needed to fill her 
orders. The Beanies were so rare that Jessica 
ended up spending several hundred pounds 
more than what she had originally sold the toys 
for, just to keep her customers happy. 



(lQ Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



eBay.co.uk charity fundraising 



Tens of millions of pounds has been raised on 
eBayfor charitable organisations. If you repre- 
sent a legitimate charity, you may run auctions 
oneBayto raise funds. Justfollow these simple 
steps: 

1. Register your charity as an eBay member. 

2. Prepare an About Me page describing your 
charity. 

Explain what your charity is, what it does, 
where the money goes, and so on. Set up 
the page to 'Show no feedback' and indi- 
cate for the page to 'Show all items'. eBay 
will link this page to the Giving Works area. 

3. Enter the following information to eBay. 
co.uk at http : / /pages . ebay . co . uk/ 
charity / information . html 

*<" User ID and e-mail address you registered 
with on eBay.co.uk 

*<" The completed About Me page 

«" Your reference number as a registered 
charity 



v The time frame in which you expect to run 
your auction 

is A brief description of your organisation 

i^ Examples of the items you'd like to list 

v* Name, e-mail address, and telephone 
number of the organisation's main contact 
person 

i^ The Website address for your organisation 
(if it has one) 

You'll hear backfrom eBay when your char- 
ity has been approved. Your charity willthen 
appear on its Charity Fundraising home 
page (see Figure 2-9), and you can start 
planning your charity auctions. The eBay 
Charity Fundraising page is accessible from 
a link on the home page or directly through 
the following: 

http : / /pages . ebay . co . uk/ 
charity/ 



If you know that you'll have the item to ship - and it won't be lost on its way 
to you - you may list the item with the following requirement: You must state 
in your auction description that the item is a pre-sale and will be shipped by 
the 30th day from the end of the listing or purchase. You also have to use a 
little HTML here because the text must be coded with an HTML font no 
smaller than font size 3. 



Keyutord spamminq 

Keyword spamming is when you add words, usually brand names, to your 
auction description that don't describe what you're selling (for example, 
describing that little black dress as Givenchy-style when Givenchy has noth- 
ing to do with it). Sellers use keyword spamming to pull viewers to their auc- 
tions after viewers have searched for the brand name. To attract attention to 
their listings, some sellers use 'not' or 'like' along with the brand name, such 
as 'like Givenchy'. 



Chapter 2: ebay.co.uk Business Basics [l y 



Figure 2-9: 

The setup 

screen for 

eBay 

charities. 



eBay $cr Charity 



eB&, for Charity h : jn =ssy way to support charities wrul* buying arid selling on eBay Buyers cari bid on eBay 
for Chanty iterni knowing that they are helping a worthy cause arid sellers can rj o r i yt ■= a percentile i'f iheir sales 
to certified chanties Charities ran ilea sell items directly in the eBay marketplace 

Bnyeis Selleii 

S'sanrn the eB-;iy fc-r Charily iisiinijM by ky^-iru, or -j^jj- ]-ir.i !■ "ind detail* on hov» yon can |j;.l i Bay far 
find out more. Charity items . 



SZ3KZ3 



Charitable urganisaiioris =.re file cornerstone .-.i'tha eBay fur Chariry pmqrarnme and can benefit in two key ways 

• By selling their own items 

• By receiving donations from sEisv c ■>inn iLimtv members' sales 

Almost any UK charity, large or small can lake part in eBay for Charitj The first step to get invoked is to registei 
with the programme-. Find out more details by clicking below. 



,;. rir.rj listings b.ineruriy v r . i j . fa».:irii.? organisation or search the charity directory on 



Cliai ity Events on eBay 





Q 



eBay for Charily 
The SiihXmas Gift 
Auction 



eBay far Charity 
Oxfam Caiii | iainm 



eBay for Charity 
^10. The BIG Cliriu-Mi: 



eBay tor Cha nly 
Li3ii; '-■I'ire About 
FutiMin i sinc i Lai-.-.p^i:!: 



su'a\ l oi Charity 
Howio Sell for Charity 



eBay for Charily 
See all listings 



I PBjK 



•■A'Tit'i ■/•.■■•> ".'-■ di-ii^i'iu event here? 



Featured Clmiities 
^ B Interne! 



Keyword spamming actually causes your auction to fall under 'potentially 
infringing' items for sale on eBayco.uk. Keyword spamming is a listing viola- 
tion, and we mention it here because it affects all listings. The wording you 
choose when you run this kind of auction manipulates the eBay search 
engine and prospective bidders. For a complete discussion of keyword 
spamming and its complexities as an item that is an infringement of eBay's 
policies, see Chapter 4. 



Linking from your auctions 

eBay.co.uk has some rules that govern linking, which we describe in this 
section. 

In your auction item description, you can use the following links: 



v* One link to an additional page that gives further information about the 
item you're selling. 

v* A link that opens an e-mail window on the prospective buyer's browser 
so that the buyer can send you an e-mail. 

v* Links to more photo images of the item you're selling. 

i*" Links to your other auctions on eBay.co.uk and your eBay Shop listings. 

v* One link to your About Me page, besides the link next to your user ID 
that eBay provides. 



jO Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



v* Links to vendors' sites that help you with your auctions. eBay considers 
listing services, software, and payment services to be third-party ven- 
dors. You can legally link to these vendors as long as the HTML font is 
no larger than size 3; if you're using a logo, it must be no larger than 88 x 
33 pixels. 

Most third-party vendors are well aware of these restrictions. They don't 
want their credits pulled from eBay, so the information they supply as a 
link generally falls within eBay's parameters. 



In your auction description, you cannot link to the following: 

t^ A page that offers to sell, trade, or purchase merchandise outside the 
eBay site. 

v* Any area on the Internet that offers merchandise considered illegal on 
eBay. See Chapter 4 for information on illegal items. 

i*" Any site that encourages eBay bidders to place their bids outside eBay. 

J-" Sites that solicit eBay user IDs and passwords. 



Linking from your About Me paqe 

eBay rules pertaining to the About Me page are pretty much the same as the 
rules for the rest of the site. Because eBay gives you this page for self- 
promotion, you may link to your own business Web site from it (e-commerce 
or personal). Be sure not to link to other trading sites or to sites that offer the 
same merchandise for the same or lower price. Read more about the About 
Me page dos and don'ts in Chapter 3. 



Chapter 3 

Essential eBay.co.uk Tools 



In This Chapter 

Making My eBay your home page 

Taking advantage of your About Me page 

Managing the business of your auction: eBay.co.uk seller services 



£} Bay.co.uk offers you an amazing variety of tools. Because the site is con- 
^* stantly changing, few users know where these tools are, how to find them, 
or how to use them. Users often fall victim to the 'Oh, I didn't know I could do 
that' syndrome. Aside from the tools we tell you about in this chapter, the most 
important shortcut we can give you is to remind you to sign in and click the 
box that says 'Keep me signed in on this computer unless I sign out' before you 
attempt to do anything at eBay. Clicking this box permits you to do all your 
business at eBay without being bugged for your password at every turn. 

If you have more than one user ID, or share a computer with other people, be 
sure to sign out when you're finished. The cookie system means your com- 
puter holds your sign-in information until you sign out. For your protection, 
you still have to type your password for actions involving financial informa- 
tion. To specify the tasks for which you want eBay to remember your sign-in 
information, go to the Preferences area of the My eBay.co.uk page. 

Many eBay users frequently share with us some nugget of information that 
has helped them along the way. And now we share these nuggets with you. 

eBay has developed some incredibly useful features, such as My eBay, which 
allows you to customise eBay.co.uk for your home page. Another feature, the 
About Me page, lets you tell the story of your business to the world as well as 
find out (with a click of the mouse) about the people you plan on buying 
from. To get the low-down on our favourite eBay tools, read on. 




My eBay 



Your own home page at eBay.co.uk can pop up on your screen every morning 
with a cheery, "My eBay - Hello, username", followed by your current feedback 



3 2 P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



rating. My eBay is no longer a step-by-step list of what you're bidding on and 
selling, but a veritable Swiss army knife of eBay tools. 

Access the My eBay page by clicking the My eBay button above the 
eBay.co.uk navigation bar. The navigation bar, which is shown in Figure 3-1, 
appears at the top of every eBay page. You can also click the My eBay link at 
the bottom of the eBay home or Search page. Why? I don't really know why 
anyone would take two steps instead of one, but you can if you want to. 



Figure 3-1: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

navigation 

bar appears 

at the top 

of every 

eBay page. 



home pay register sign in services site map help 



Browse Search Sell My eBay Community 



Arriving at your My eBay page, you see a summary of the business that you 
have in progress on the site (see Figure 3-2). Each comment has a link, so you 
can investigate the progress of the transactions. 



Figure 3-2: 

A My eBay 

Summary 

entrance 

page. 



horns pay site rna 



|Start new search 




My eB.iy Views 
Hv Summary 



All BnviiHi 

Wsi - : '■ . 

■ Bidding 

Be si Offers 

■ Won 

■ Didnt Win 



All Selling 



Unsold 
My Message; 



All Favourites 

■ . ,i i 



Hello, danmatthewsSO (H A 
My Summary 



Jse Summary 



6eiiei.il eBay An no mi cements 

New: 5p Listing Day on Thursday 12th January 2III06 09/01/06 
Coming Soon: Category Changes 09/01/06 

09/01 /D6 
.— J - -. ?.->■-.■ -■ - -. .• 



Note: Views that have no items within the selected period are hidden. 



® ■ 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools Jy 3 




My eBay is divided into five areas (My Summary, All Bidding, All Selling, All 
Favourites, and My Account), which you can visit by clicking links in the My 
eBay Views box on the left-hand side of the page. The top link of each My 
eBay area presents you with a summary of the activity in that area. The links 
below the top link take you to specific data, without having to scroll through 
a long page. 

At the bottom of My eBay Views is a Related Links box with convenient links 
to services and to answers you may need while doing business at eBay (see 
Figure 3-3). 



Figure 3-3: 

The Related 

Links box 

on the My 

eBay page. 



Selling Links 


A 


View Sellina Mana 


tier 


PayPal #> 




Seller's Guide 




Seller Central 




Seller Tools 




Manage Mv Store 


Policy 


Non-Payina Buyer 


more. . . 



The links in the Related Links box are different depending on the page, with 
buying-related links on the All Buying page, selling-related links on the All 
Selling page (as in Figure 3-4), account-related links on the My Account page, 
and favourites-related links on the All Favourites page. When you have a 
question regarding an eBay procedure, these links can be very handy. 



Figure 3-4: 

Selling- 
related links 
on the All 
Selling 
page. 




Hello. danmatthewsSO (11 



All Buying 

■ Watching 

■ Bidding 

■ Best Offers 

■ Won 

■ Didnt Win 

Mv Recommendations 



All Selling 

Scheduled 



All Favourites 

■ . ,i i 



Categories 
MyAccouiH 



Personal In 
Addresses 

Feedback 

■ PayPal Account 

■ Seller Account 
Cross-Promotion 



Selling-Related Links 


M.in.iijiinj Your Items: 

Sell Your Item 
Revise Your Item 
Add to Item Description 
Cancel Bids on Mv Item 
:ij .1 ■■ t i 

Send A Second Chance Offer 


Billing/Payment: 

Billina Freauentlv Asked Questions IFAQ1 
PayPal 

Trust and Safety: 

Listina policies 
Items Not Allowed 

Item Process 
Tradinrj Violations 
Disnute Resolution 

Item Authentication 
All about Escrow 
SauareTrade Seal 

/\Q1 


eBay Shops: 

Learn About eBay Shoes 
Create an eBay Shoe 
Edit Your eBay Shop 
- . ji - : ■ . . i i 


Feature Your Item 


Default Cross-Promotions 


Manacie Picture Seivices 






Sellimj information: 

Seller's Guide 

Sellina Freauentlv Asked Questions fF 
i.i- 


3 Auction 
Global Trade 



J h Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




At the top of each of the Views is a mini tote board, giving you a snapshot of 
your financial business dealings. In the Bidding area, the board displays the 
number of items you're bidding on and the cash amount of all your winning 
bids. In the Selling area, you see the number of items and the cash amounts 
bid. The other views have a similar summary tote at the top of the page. 



Alt Buying 



All Buying is the hub for keeping track of your bids, your wins, items you're 
watching, and any items you didn't win. Although you plan to sell more than 
buy at eBay.co.uk, we're sure you'll occasionally find something to buy if only 
to turn around and resell it. We've found many a bargain item at eBay that 
we've re-sold immediately at a profit. Plus, you can purchase most of your 
shipping supplies at eBay. (In Chapter 17, we reference a few eBay sources 
with great prices and fast shipping.) 

Items I'm Bidding On 

When you place a bid, eBay.co.uk automatically registers it in the Items I'm 
Bidding On area, like the one shown in Figure 3-5. 



Figure 3-5: 

Keeping 

track of your 

bidding at 

My eBay. 











My eBay Views 
Mv Summary 


Hello. danmatthews50 fl 1 * ) 


your listings 


ebY_ 



All Buying 

Watching 
- Bidding i-H 

Best Offers 
■ Won 



fllLSiiling 

■ Selling 

■ Sold 



My Messages 
All Favourites 



My Ace- 
Perso 
Addre 



...-.,'. 



Preferences 
■ Feedback 
' PayPal Account 

Seller Account 
' Cross-Promotion 

Hrinnprtinnq 



Bidding Total? 










A©! 


Bidding on: 1 


Win 


in g: 


I Win 


in gtOS 


-. £4.99 



Items I'm Bfckl 


in| On (1 item) 


Mi Print OiisTninise [ii$i>l.iv A W 


Show: All | Winni 


.2 (1)| Not Winning (0) 




r Picture 


Current Price Mu Has Hid v Postaae Cost 


Time Left Action 








n 


NEW DIESEL MEN SHIRT RED MODERN STRIPE 2006 flvll 069M 
SLOT £5. DO £10.00 




View Seller's Other Items 
Bd OOh 25m 


™* I 






Prices of items you 


are currently winning are ijl#eii llll hoMj those that you are not curre 


ntlv winnino are red, Back to top 



About Items I'm Bidding On 



This is your "Items l"m Bidding On" view. Details about all of the items you ara bidding on will tie shov 
price indicates if you are the current high bidder on an item. 
• To bid on an item: 

Just click the "Bid" button on the item page and enter the price you're willing to pay for the item 
2 After a listing ends: 

The listing will appear in either your "Items IVe Won" or "Hems I Didnl Win" view. 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools jf) 



Setting a desktop shortcut to your My eBay page 

People often tell us they'd like a direct linkfrom 2. In your browser's toolbar, choose File- 



their computer desktop to their My eBay page. 
If you use Internet Explorer as your browser, 
just follow these steps: 

1. Sign in and go to your My eBay page. 



Send-Shortcut to Desktop. 

Two steps and that's it- a clickable shortcut to 
your My eBay area is placed on your computer's 
desktop. 



*JABE* 





Make the bidding page a daily stop at eBay.co.uk so you can see the status of 
your bids: 



«*" Bid amounts in green indicate that you're the high bidder in the auction. 

v* Bid amounts in red indicate that your bid is losing. To increase your bid, 
simply click the auction title to go to the auction. 

v* Dutch auctions appear in black. To determine whether you retain high 
bidder status in a Dutch auction, you need to go to the actual auction. 

v* The My Max Bid column reminds you of the amount of your highest bid; 
if you see a bid that surpasses your own, you know that you need to 
throw in another bid. 

j-" The Bidding Totals box, at the top of the Bidding page, lists the current 
cash amount you're spending and the number of items you're currently 
winning in pending auctions. You can see the total amount you've bid 
and a separate total representing auctions you're winning. 

e* As auctions on which you've bid end, they automatically transfer to the 
Won and Didn't Win pages, based on your success or failure in the bid- 
ding process. 

You can make notations on your bidding or item-watching, for example to 
help you organise your gift giving. (See the note we added in Figure 3-6.) Click 
to place a tick next to the item you want to annotate, click the Add Note 
button, and then add the information. 



J\) Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Figure 3-6: 

A note 

reminding 

the bidder 

not to spend 

too much. 



■ Didnt Win 

My Recommendations 

All SeMJoa 

Scheduled 

■ Selling 
Sold 

■ Unsold 

My Messages 
All Favourites 



,. ,. 



■ PayPal Account 
Seller Account 

■ Cross-Promotion 
Connections 
Subscriptions 



My Reviews & Guides 
Dispute Console 



Related Links 

PayPal %> 
Buyer's Guide 

- Done 



Usei Note(s|i successfully saved. 




Items I'm Bidding On (1 item) 


,— - 'i .1 ■. 'iH-iins- l'i:|il jy y . 


Show: All | Winning (1) | Not Winning (0) 










r EyP| NEW DIESEL MEN SHIRT RED MODERN STRIPE 2006 uV1V069M 




ViewSeller's Otherllems 


0.99 £5 00 £10 00 
My Note: Present for dad - go up to £20 


6d OOh 23m 

Edit 


™e | 


Prices of items you are currently winning are (Jieeil j those that you are not curr 


nth winnino are red. Back to top 


Page 1 of 1 



About Items I'm Bidding On 








ode ofthe 


This is your "Items l"m Bidding On" view. Details about all of the items you ar 


bidding on will be shown 


lere. The 


colour r 


price indicates if you are the currenl high bidder on an item. 










• To bid on an item: 










Just click the "Bid" button on the item page and enter the price you're willing 


o pay for the item. 








# After a listing ends: 










The listing will appear in either your "Items IVe Won" or "Hems 1 Didnl Win" vi 











| | | | | [» Internet 



Items Vtfe Won 

Clicking the Won link in the bidding area displays all the items you've won as 
far back as the last 60 days. The default is 31 days, which should suffice for 
most transactions. The Items I've Won page is a great place to keep track of 
items that you're waiting to receive from the seller. This page is also a conve- 
nient way to keep track of your expenditures, should you be buying for 
resale. Helpful features on the Items I've Won page include the following: 



v* Tick box: Click the box to add a tick, and you can indicate that you'd 
like to add a note to your record or remove it from the list. 

i*" Seller's user ID: Remembering the seller's name is useful, and this link 
sends you to the seller's Member Profile (feedback page) where you can 
send an e-mail to the seller. 

v* Auction title: A link to the auction. You can use this link when an item 
arrives to check it is exactly as advertised. 

v* Item number: The auction number for your records. 

v* Auction sale date: A convenient way to see whether your item is slow in 
shipping. After a week, dropping the seller an e-mail to check on the 
shipping status is good idea. 

J-" Sale price and quantity: Helps you keep track of the money you've 
spent. Works with the totals in the tote board. 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools y / 




V Action: Displays different commands based on the status of your trans- 
action. You can click a link to pay for the item through PayPal, view the 
payment status on paid items, mark the item paid if you paid through 
other payment methods, or leave feedback after you receive the item 
and are satisfied that it's what you ordered. 

i*" Icons: At the end of each item's listing are three icons that appear dimmed 
until the selected action is taken. A pound sign indicates whether you've 
paid for the item, a star indicates that you've left feedback, and a quote 
bubble indicates whether feedback has been left for you. 



When you receive an item and leave feedback, click the box and then click 
the box next to it and press the Delete Selected Items button to remove the 
completed transactions from view. 

Items I'm Watching 

If you see an auction that makes you think, 'I don't want to bid on this at the 
moment, but I'd like to buy it if it's a bargain', one of the most powerful fea- 
tures of the My eBay area is just the tool to help you. Clicking the Watching 
link from the My eBay Views box brings you to the Items I'm Watching page 
(see Figure 3-7). This page lists each auction with a countdown (time left) 
timer, so you know exactly when the auction closes. When an auction on your 
watch list gets close to ending, you can swoop down and make the kill - if the 
price is right. 



Figure 3-7: 

Sit back and 

observe at 

My eBay. 



My eBay Views 
My Summary 



All Bnyinn 

- Watdiiha fsl 



". 



■ Best Offers 
Won 
DidntWin 

All Sellinn 

Scheduled 



Sold 
Jriodd 



My Messati&s 
All Favoiuites 



Sellers 



Hello. danmatthews50 (1_L ft ) 



peduce Unpaid Iteire 



My Summary 



'-:'.-.'■.-' ""'''- ■'■ ■ ' : "-. 



Buying Reminders i L=-t 31 d^s] 
£■^ 2 hems I'm watching are ending 3 



Back Id top 



Items I'm Watching (3 items) 
Show: All | Active [3) | Ended (0) 

| _ Picture Current Price Uo'^qe Co-si : b\di Seller ID 

a x PREMIUM OUTDOOR STAINLESS STEEL 30LAR LIGHTS - 
£49.99 £9.95 bid-4-it! f 293DS ■&) 

r Vfi^l Original Hard Produced Clock on Stainless Steel 

Q. 19ssld52 (304 ft) 



Customise Dbplny ft ^ 3€ 



My Account 








Personal Information 
- Addres-ses 


r 


'£& 


-Uoerb solid oak EMENDING table 


- Preferences 
■ Feedback 




m 


£339.00 Pick up only 




.Delete] 


Compare 


Email to a Friend Add Not a 


f:.--.\\~:r Account 



- I ■ 





■ ;:■■- Kii 



JO Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




Also a handy marketing tool, the Watching page allows you to store auctions 
from competitive sellers. That way, you can monitor the status of items simi- 
lar to ones you plan to sell later and see whether the items are selling high or 
low, helping you decide whether now is a good time to sell. 

You've probably seen the Add to watch list link at the top of each auction 
page. If you're watching items (eBay allows you to monitor 100 auctions at a 
time), you can see a notation on the page, indicating how many auctions 
you're currently watching. 

Our number-one reason for using the watch list function is that it allows us to 
keep our bargain hunting quiet. Everybody - including the competition - 
knows when you're bidding on an item; nobody knows when you're watching 
the deals like a hawk. When you're looking for bargains to buy and resell, you 
may not want to tip off the competition by letting them know you're bidding. 



Alt Setting 



eBay.co.uk provides some smooth management tools on your Selling page. 
You can track items you currently have up for auction and items you've sold. 
This page is a quick way to get a snapshot of the value of your auctions, as 
they proceed. Although it isn't as good for marketing information (detailed 
counters are best - see Chapter 9), your Selling page is a pretty good way to 
tell at a glance how your items are faring. 

hems I'm Setting 

With the Items I'm Selling page (see Figure 3-8), you can keep an eye on your 
shop items, your fixed-price sales, and the progress of your auctions. You can 
see how many bids your auctions have, whether your reserves have been 
met, and how long before auctions close. By clicking an auction title, you can 
visit the auction to make sure your pictures are appearing or to check your 
counter. 



Many people watch auctions and don't bid until the last minute, so you may 
not see a lot of bidding activity on your page. The # of Watchers feature can 
give you important information on the progress of your auctions. 

The auctions that appear in green have received one or more bids (and met 
any reserves you've set). Auctions in red haven't received any bids or the set 
reserve price hasn't been met. Dutch auctions aren't colour-coded and 
appear in black. 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools J y 



Figure 3-8: 

The Items 

I'm Selling 

page at 

My eBay. 



Selling Totals 










A V 


Quantity: 10 (2 wil 


soil) 


Bids: 


18 


Amount: 


$74.9$ Fixed price quantity: |$7 



Items I'm Selling (1-25 of 26 items) 
Show: All | Currently Selling (2) | Currently Not Selling (24) 



^ Print Customize A V 



I - Current Prict 



High Bidder ID 



, 



r NEC FRIENDS Piees Kit Bindai Gist Photo Centi.il Peik 

$39.00 17 l-^l-H i'fn »' 14 1h4Bm 



Promotions El 



& 



r Cloml Dome B.icklliound BjckdlO" PORTABLE Phtitti STAGE 

135.99 1 •>-•': (S6*) 2 4h14m 



Promotions B 



& 



V HEW eE?«w BtiKjain Shopping foi Dummies SIGHED Aurhoi 2U 

*»«» W9g - 1d1Sh 

I - Starting an Ebaj Business foi Dummies SIGHED l>v Author 

^»*, 2 299 ° ~ 1d18h 



Promotions El 



Edit 

P .lli'.'ll.H: _ 



di 



At the top of the Items I'm Selling area, eBay lists the current price of all 
items, including bidding on items that haven't met your reserve. The total 
cash amount of the items that will sell when the auctions are over appears 
beneath these totals. 

hems l'</e Sold 

As you scroll down the All Selling page, you come to the Items I've Sold area. 
To avoid a lot of scrolling, you can reach an abbreviated version of this area 
(missing the detailed Selling Totals box) by clicking the Sold link in the Views 
box, under All Selling. 

The Items I've Sold area keeps your sales in a concise place, as shown in 
Figure 3-9. You can use this area in lieu of fancy auction management soft- 
ware. If you're selling hundreds of items, your list will probably be too long to 
monitor individual auctions - but you can view the total current price of the 
items that will sell. 




If you're selling more than 20 items a week, you may consider using eBay's 
Selling Manager to give you an even more complete auction management 
solution. See Chapter 9 for the low-down on how to make this tool work 
for you. 



60 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Figure 3-9: 

The Items 

I've Sold 

page in 

My eBay. 



Selling Totals 



■§-■«; 



Selling: Auction quantity: 13 (2 will sell) Bids: 12 Amount: $17.49 Fiuou price quantity: 284 



Quantity: 48 Amount: $2,602.60 (Ust31da^s) 



Hems I'm Selling (1-25 of 33 items) 
Show: All I Currently Selling (2) I Currently Not Selling (31) 



Backtotop *K- 
i Print Customize » ^ 



fj CurrentPrice Bid; High Bidder ID « of Watcher; Tims Larr ^ Action dl 

I d OOh 00m Sell Similar £3 i;Sjl 



r Deluxe CLOUD DOME Digital Complete Lighting KitwCase 
$231.99 



SSeySm $236.99 



r MEW SPANX Footless Body Shaping F'antynose Size B-MUDE 

$8.50 11 F. = - - j (0) 4 1d00h03m Sell Similar O §J 

P NEW Spanx Footless Body Shaping Pantyhose Size A-NUDE 

$8.99 1 s. . -.-„■-■» (45 ») 1d00h03m Sell Similar Q ^ 



[~ New CL.:! .. 1 ,:' l OMF !::■:= ^r?i '_:^i :;:.i:> Kit & Extension Collar 
$168.99 



3d22h51m Edit Promotions Q ■:%/ 



The Items I've Sold page has the following helpful features for completing 
your transactions: 



v* Check box: Click here to add a personal note to your record or to 
remove an item from your list. 

v* Buyer's user ID and feedback rating: The eBay ID of the winner of the 
sale. Click it to go to the User's Member Profile, where you can use 
eBay's e-mail server to contact the buyer. 

v* Quantity: If the sale was for multiple items, the number of items is dis- 
played here. 

v* Item title: A direct link to the auction. You can click this link to check on 
your auction and see the other bidders, should you want to make a 
Second Chance Offer (see below). 

v* Item number: The auction number for your records. 

v* Sale price: The final selling price for your item. 

J-" Total price: The final selling price plus the shipping amount. 

J-" Sale date: Keep an eye on the end date to make sure you get your pay- 
ment as agreed. 

v* Action: A hidden, drop-down menu is provided here that works with the 
icons to the left and offers links to various actions that you can take: 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools %) / 



• Mark paid: If the customer hasn't paid using PayPal, you can indi- 
cate their method of payment (after you receive it). 

• View payment status: See a copy of the payment receipt if the 
buyer paid using PayPal or a notation you inserted regarding other 
payment methods. 

• Print shipping label: You can print a shipping label from here. See 
Chapter 14 for more professional options. 

• Leave feedback: Leave feedback with a single click after you hear 
that the item arrived safely and your customer is happy. For more 
information on leaving feedback, check out the section 'Feedback: 
Your permanent record', later in this chapter. 

• Mark shipped. After you ship the item, click here to indicate that 
it's on the way. 

• Second Chance Offer: Click here to make a Second Chance Offer to 
one of your under-bidders if you have multiple items for sale. 

• Re-list: Here you can re-list your item on the site. 

v* Icons: My eBay has several icons that appear dimmed until you perform 
an action with the Action command. You may also click the icons at the 
top of the list to sort your listings by actions completed, although most 
sellers prefer to keep the listings in the default chronological order. 

• Shopping cart: The buyer has completed checkout (supplying a 
shipping address and planned payment method). 

• Pound sign: The buyer has paid using PayPal, or you've used the 
drop-down menu to indicate that the buyer has paid with a different 
form of payment (such as a money order or a personal cheque). 

• Shipping box: The item has shipped. 

• Star: You've left feedback. 

• Comment bubble: The buyer has left feedback. A plus sign (+) 
indicates a positive comment, and a minus sign (-) indicates a neg- 
ative comment. 



All Favourites 



If you sell and have an interest in a few categories, look no further than the 
My eBay All Favourites page, which gives you some links for checking out 
what's hot and what's not. The All Favourites page helps you track trends and 
find some bargains to resell at eBay.co.uk. 



62 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Favourite Categories 

eBay.co.uk allows you to store hot links for four categories. These links give 
you the chance to quickly check out the competition. 




Before you list some auctions on a popular item, estimate the date and hour 
that other auctions selling that item will close. Then go into the category and 
check to make sure that your auction won't close during a flood of auctions 
for the same item. Nothing kills profits more than closing an auction in the 
middle of a series of auctions selling the same thing. You can watch the final 
values drop one at a time. 



Favourite Searches 

Another tool that comes in handy for sellers as well as buyers is My 
Favourite Searches (see Figure 3-10). You can list as many as 100 favourite 
searches; when you want to check one out, simply click the item link. 

You can view saved searches, change them, delete them, or indicate that 
you'd like to receive e-mail notification when a new item is listed. To add an 
item to the list, run a search from any search bar on any eBay.co.uk page and 
click the Add to Favourites link that appears at the top of the search results. 
The next time you reload your My eBay All Favourites page, your new 
favourite will be listed. 



Figure 3-10: 

The My 

Favourite 

Searches 

page. 



My eBay Views 
My Summary 



All Biiviim 

Watching (3) 

■ Bidding m 
Be si Offers 

■ Won 

■ Didn't Win 
My Recomr 



All Selling 

Scheduled 

Sold 






Searches 
i Sellers 
Categories 



My Account 

Personal Information 
Addresses 



i PayPal Account 

i Seller Account 

■ ■ - 



Hello. danmatthews50 (11 i 



The search was saved to your list helow. 

You can also tell millions of selleis what you'ie loo-liiinj t-ru Iny cieathi'i a fiee Want It How | >»sr . 



MyFavomite Seaiches p searches; 3 emails) 
Show: All | Searches (3) | Want It Now Searches [ID) 

f" Name of Search ^ Search Criteria 



|~~ hi iihy shin 

I - triumph bgnneyjjle 



rugby shirt 

Sort: Ending Fir; 



Sort: Ending Fir; 



I - watches 



watches 

Category: Collectables, Sort: Ending First 



180 days left 

1B0 days left 

180 days left 
led to: matt he ws^ 



e*V„, 



Add new Search 



Preferences 

" idit 3~| 

Preferences 

[iin al 

Preferences 
;holdt hefrontpage.co.uk 



How to Use Favourite Searches 



| Search for your item: 

Search foi an item en eBay by entering keywords into the search box at the top of each sage. 

2 Click on the "Add to Favourite Seaiches" link: 

If you are happy with your search and want to keep it, click en the 'Add to Favourite Searches" link to save the 
Favourites. If you still want to refine your search, you can use the links on the left of your search resu'ls to fine- 
■.i- ■■— j ii . ■. - ii i i i i .- i i i ■ ■ - .■ ji - i i 

3 Set preferences foi favourite searches: 

Click the "preferences" link next to the search title From here, you can change the search name or request emails with items added 
to the site that tit your search criteria. 



current search in your 
■tune your results. After 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools Oj 



Keeping track of Favourite Searches is a valuable tool when you're looking for 
particular items to resell and want to find them at bargain prices. Take advan- 
tage of asterisks (wildcard characters) and alternate spellings so you can 
catch items with misspellings in the title - these tactics are your best bets for 
low prices. (See Chapter 7 for the low-down on the eBay.co.uk search engine 
and how it can help your sales.) 

If you choose to receive e-mail when your search locates a new listing, you 
can request that you receive notification from 7 days to a year. You're allowed 
to receive new listing e-mails on 30 of your 100 searches. Just click the Edit 
Preferences link in the far-right column (refer to Figure 3-10). eBay sends its 
robot to check listings each night, so you'll get notification of a new listing 
the next morning. 

Favourite Setters 

You can keep a list of people who sell items similar to what you sell using the 
Favourite Sellers tool. You can check up on these people and see what they're 
selling, when they're selling it, and for how much. You can also use this help- 
ful tool to prevent you from listing an item right next to one of their auctions. 

Favourite Sellers is also handy when your competition is selling an item that 
you plan to sell, but at a deeply discounted price. When that happens, don't 
offer your item until the competition sells theirs, at which time the price will 
probably go back up - supply and demand, remember? You can put whole- 
salers and liquidators under your Favourite Sellers, too, and search for job 
lots that you can resell at a profit. 

To add a seller to your Favourite Sellers list, click the Add New Seller link on 
the right-hand side of the page. On the page that appears, type the seller's 
user ID. You may add a maximum of 30 sellers to your list. 



My Account 



Your eBay.co.uk account summary page (see Figure 3-11) lets you know how 
much you owe eBay and how much they will charge your credit card that 
month. This page is a quick and easy way to check your last invoice, pay- 
ments and credits, and your account; all the links are located in one area. 

You can also access your PayPal account to see, for example, when deposits 
were credited to your bank account. (For a complete picture of how to sign 
up and use PayPal, visit Chapter 13.) 



\)[l Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Figure 3-11: 

The My 

Account 

summary 

page. 



____ 



My eBay Views 



All Buying 



i Won 

- Didnt Win 

Mv Recommendations 

All Selling 

Scheduled 



All Favourites 

Searches 



PayPal Account 
Seller Account 
Cross-Promotion 



Hello. danmatthewsSO <1L & ) 



■*V- 



My Account 



My Sellei Account Siiimnary 
A ceo u in Activity 

Previous invoice amount [D1/01yO6V [Vi ^ inv i ■i-yir-aj 
Payments and credits since last invoice: 
Feas since las-1 mwic-j !■■/'■■-?.■ ;■:.■ ■:■' .! m status"! 



-£1.72 
£0.00 
£0.00 

-£1.72 



eBay Sellei Fees 
PayPal piovMes two I 



ent option's foi paying youi eBiiy sellei tee! 



EggsIBl^Hl 



Automatic PayPal Payments 

Iht: simples! way to pay your sell 



One-time PayPal Payments 



'the amount you wish li 
s Pay button. 



£ |~ 



jtfNG/ 




Personal Information 

The Personal Information page holds all the links to your personal informa- 
tion at eBay.co.uk. This page is where you can change your e-mail address, 
user ID, password, and credit card information, and edit or create your About 
Me page. You can also change or access any registration or credit card infor- 
mation that you have on file at eBay. 

The Personal Information page has a link for adding a wireless e-mail address 
for your mobile phone or PDA. What a great idea: eBay can send End of 
Auction notices right to your WAP-enabled mobile phone. Unfortunately, 
sometimes these messages are sent out hours (days?) after the listing ends. 
So don't count on always getting immediate updates. 



eBay.co.uk Preferences 

A nifty feature of the eBay Preferences page is the opportunity to customise 
how you see your My eBay pages (see Figure 3-12). If you run many auctions, 
you can show as many as 200 items on these pages. 

Sign in preferences are special settings within My eBay that allow you to 
determine how you remain signed in to eBay. To change your sign in prefer- 
ences click the My eBay button at the top of any eBay page, then click the 
Preferences tab of My eBay and click the Show all link. Then scroll down to 
the Other general preferences section, in which you'll be offered the choice 
to remain signed in permanently. 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools \) f) 



Figure 3-12: 

Your eBay 

Preferences 

page. 




Watching (3) 

■ Bidding m 

■ Won 

■ 

■ My Recommen 

All Selling 

Scheduled 

■ Selling 
Sold 
Unsold 

My Messages 





Preferences 




Show all 


Use Preferences to charge your eBay settings for email, payment, selli 
To view your preferences, click the "Show" link. 


B.B.C. 




Notification Preferences 


Receive email:; and other communications from eBay. 




Edit 




Selling Preferences 


Sell Your Item form and listings 

Edit your Sell Your Item form preferences and other listing preferences 




Show 


Payment from buyers 

Edit Checkout, PayPal, and other payment options you offer buyers. 




Show 



Sellers 
Categories 






' Addresses 
' Preferences 

■ Feedback 

■ PayPal Account 
i Seller Account 

* Cross-Promotion 




Postage and discounts 

Offer shipping discounts on combined purchases. 



Promoting Similar Items on eBay Pages and Emails 

Promote your items in emails and on item pages. 



Logos and branding 

Display your logo and 



Buyei requirements 

Block certain eBay members from buying yoi 



The About Me Paqe 



If you're on eBay.co.uk, you need an About Me page. eBay is a community and 
all eBay members are members of that community. Checking out the About 
Me page of people you conduct business with gives you an opportunity to get 
to know them. Because eBay is a cyberspace market, you have no other way 
to let prospective bidders know that you're a real person. Don't you buy 
things at some shops because you like the owners or people who work there? 
The About Me page takes a first step toward establishing a professional and 
trusted identity at eBay. 

The About Me page enables you to personalise your business to prospective 
bidders. (See Figure 3-13 for an example.) Your About Me page also becomes 
your About the Seller page if you have an eBay shop. 



An About Me page benefits you also when you buy. Sellers usually like to 
know about their bidders to build confidence in their trading partners, so if 
you've put up an About Me page, you're halfway there. 

If you don't have an About Me page, put this book down and set one up 
immediately. This page doesn't have to be a work of art; just get something 
up there to tell the rest of the community who you are. You can always go 
back later and add to or redesign your About Me page. 



66 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Figure 3-13: 

An example 

of an About 

Me page 

from 

member 

Gadgets- 

Ville. 







GadgetsVille 1 




Maintained by: aadaetsville f8015*l ^Km 1 " me t 

We offer the latest technology at a fraction of the high street cost. Products include :- Gadgets, Cool Stuff, 

Video games & accessories. Visit iwtfw.gadgetsville.co.uk oi www.planetville.co uk to see our range of 




WebStores - can you uncoverthe secret hideout ? 


■i ii . ■ J' . ■ j i i ■. i .1 .1 J . n.i <"/<"/** r .vfiiP. ■" O.i if. 


*| Back to crevious Dace 

THANK YOU 

For taking the time lei visit our shop. Mary of the items iisieu ( + items that we are unable to sell through Ebay ) can be found at GadgetsVille 
( often at even cheaper prices ) 

www.gadgetswille.co.uk 

Visit "Planet Ville" to unlock the secret and make extra savings from our range of Webstores. 

www.pl.inetville.co.uk 

For the Latest Mobile phones at hard to beat prices be sure to visit 

www.mobilesville.co.uk 


Jk 



When you plan your About Me page, consider adding the following and keep 
it succinct: 



«*" Who you are and where you live. 

v* Your hobbies. If you collect things, here's where to let the world know. 

v* Whether you run your eBay business full time or part time and whether 
you have another career. This is more integral information about you; let 
the world know. 

v* The type of merchandise that your business revolves around. Promote it 
here; tell the reader why your merchandise and service are the best! 

«*" Your most recent feedback and a list of your current auctions. 



To create your page, click the Me icon next to any user's name, scroll to the 
bottom of the About Me page that appears, find the line that reads 'To create 
your own About Me page, click here' , and click. You can also click the About 
Me link on the Personal Information page at My eBay; or go to the following: 

http: //cgi3 .ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI . dll?AboutMeLogin 



Then follow the simple preformatted template for your first page and work 
from there. 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools %) / 



eBay.co.uk Setter Sen/ices 



Most eBay.co.uk users don't know the extent of eBay's seller-specific ser- 
vices. And sometimes sellers are so involved with their auctions that they 
don't take the time to find out about new helper tools. So we've gone deep 
into the eBay pond to dig up a few excellent tools to help you with your 
online business. Even if you've used some of these tools before, consider 
revisiting them because eBay.co.uk regularly implements changes. 




*JABE* 




Bidder-management toots 

Did you know that you don't have to accept bids from just anyone? Although 
you can include notices in your auction description attempting to qualify bid- 
ders ahead of time, this action doesn't always prevent undesirables from bid- 
ding on your auction. Alas, part of the business is watching your bidders. 
With bidder management tools, you can save yourself a good deal of grief. 

Cancelling bids 

You may have any number of reasons for wanting to cancel someone's bid. 
Perhaps an international bidder has bid in an auction in which you clearly 
state you don't ship overseas. Here are a few more legitimate reasons for can- 
celling a bid: 



k" The bidder contacts you to back out of the bid; choosing to be nice 
about it, you let him or her out of the deal. 

v* Your bidder has several negative feedbacks and hasn't gone through 
with other transactions that he or she has won. 

v* You're unable to verify the bidder's identity through e-mail or the phone. 

j-" You need to cancel the auction (see following tip). 



We don't recommend cancelling an auction unless you absolutely have to 
because doing so is just bad business. People rely on your auctions being up 
for the stated amount of time. They may be planning to bid at the last minute, 
or may just want to watch the action for a while. You may lose potential 
buyers by ending your listing early. 

For whatever reason you're cancelling someone's bid, first e-mail that person 
and clearly explain why you're doing so. Your bid cancellation appears in the 
auction's bidding history and becomes part of the auction's official record. 
For that reason, we recommend that you leave a concise, unemotional, one- 
line explanation on the cancellation form as to why you've cancelled the bid. 



68 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



To get to the bid cancellation form, start on your My eBay All Selling page 
and scroll to Selling Links. You can also get to the cancellation form directly 
by typing the following in your browser: 

http : / /of f er . ebay . co . uk/ws/eBaylSAPI . dll?CancelBidShow 

Ending your fisting early 

You may decide to end a listing early for any number of reasons. If any bids 
are on your auction before you end it, you are duty-bound to sell to the high- 
est bidder. So before ending an auction early, politely e-mail everyone in your 
bidder list, explaining why you're cancelling bids and closing the auction. If 
an error in the item's description is forcing you to take this action, let your 
bidders know whether you're planning to re-list the item with the correct 
information. 

After you e-mail all the bidders, you must then cancel their bids by using the 
bid cancellation form; for the link to this form, see the preceding section, 
'Cancelling bids'. 

Only after cancelling all bids can you go ahead and close your auction. To 
close your auction, use the more link at the bottom of your Selling Links box 
to get to the Managing Your Items box. Click the link there that says End My 
Listing Early . You can also go directly to 

http: //of fer.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI . dll?EndingMyAuction&s 
s PageName = STRK : MESRL : 5 

Following are some legitimate reasons for closing your auction: 

v* You no longer want to sell the item. Your account may be subject to a 
'Non-Selling Seller' warning unless you really have a good reason. (See 
Chapter 4 for more details.) 

v* An error occurred in the minimum bid or reserve amount. Perhaps 
your daughter said that she really loves that doll and you'd better get 
some good money for it, but you started the auction at SI. 00 with no 
reserve. 

v* The listing has a major error in it. Maybe you misspelled a critical key- 
word in the title. 

i*" The item was somehow lost or broken. Your dog ate it? 

Blocking buyers 

If you don't want certain buyers bidding on your auctions, you can remove 
their capability to do so. Setting up a list of bidders that you don't want to do 
business with is legal at eBay.co.uk. If someone that you block tries to bid on 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools %) y 



your auction, the bid doesn't go through. A message displays notifying the 
person that he or she is not able to bid on the listing and to contact the seller 
for more information. 

You can block as many as 1000 users from bidding on your auctions. 
However, we recommend that you use this option only when absolutely nec- 
essary. Situations - and people - change, and you're best off to try to clear up 
problems with particular bidders. 

You can reinstate a bidder at any time by going to the Buyer Blocking box at 

http: //of fer.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI . dll?BidderBlockLogin 

Within the Buyer Blocking box, you can then delete the bidder's user ID and 
reinstate him or her. 

Pre-approVing bidders 

Suppose that you're selling a big-ticket item and want to pre-qualify your bid- 
ders. Although eBay gives you the tools, you still have to do the research to 
determine whether you deem particular bidders trustworthy enough to bid 
on your special auction. 

In your auction, state that bidders must pre-qualify by sending you an e-mail 
claiming their intent to bid. As you receive e-mails and approve bidders' 
intentions, you can build your pre-approved bidder list. 

Your pre-approved bidder list is applicable only on an auction-by-auction 
basis. Using pre-approved bidders means that only bidders in the listings 
you indicate must be pre-approved. To use this feature, you must supply 
eBay.co.uk with the auction number. You can add approved bidders right up 
to the close of the auction. Access the form and type in the pre-approved 
bidders at 

http: //of fer . ebay . co .uk/ws/eBayISAPI . 
dll?PreApproveBidders 

If someone who isn't pre-approved tries to bid on your auction, eBay asks 
that bidder to contact you by e-mail before placing a bid. After you investi- 
gate the bidder to your satisfaction and are comfortable with that person bid- 
ding on your auction, you can add the bidder's name to your pre-approved 
bidder list for that auction. 

Using the pre-approved bidder service can give you peace of mind when 
you're selling valuable items. But it also excludes a large chunk of potential 
customers who'll have to jump through hoops just to place a bid. We recom- 
mend using it for big-ticket items only. 



( Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Buyer Requirements 

A new feature on eBay.co.uk, entitled Buyer Requirements, might be more 
useful to those of you who are selective about who gets to bid on your items. 
Found under the Seller Preferences section of My eBay, Buyer Requirements 
allows you to block bidders for a range of offences, including: 

j-" Having a negative feedback score 

u* Having received two unpaid item strikes 

J-" Not having a PayPal account 

You can also block bidders who are unfortunate enough to live in a country 
that you don't post to or who are the winning bidder on a large number of 
your items. These caveats can be reversed at any time - should you have a 
change of heart. 



Feedback: \lour permanent record 

Your eBay.co.uk feedback is meant to follow you forever at eBay. If you 
change your user ID, the feedback information is there; if you change your 
e-mail address, it's there. 

When you click the feedback number next to a user's ID, the user's eBay ID 
card (see Figure 3-14) is displayed. The information shown tells you a lot 
about your bidder. 



Figure 3-14: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

Feedback 

page, with 

an overall 

profile and 

an ID card, 

summarising 

recent 

comments. 



Member Profile: kateb129 (3575 * ) x!3 



Feedback Score: 
Positive Feedback: 

Members who left a positive 
Members wbo left a negative 
All positive feedback received 

...... ji . . ... . ., i . . 



3575 
99.6% 



Recent Ratings: 










Past 
Month 


Past 
6 Months 


Past 
12 Months 


<Q positive 


54 


14D5 


3375 


O neutral 


1 


7 


12 


O negative 


2 


4 


14 



Bid Retractions (Past £ months): 1 



Feedback Received Fniin Eniveis From Sellers Left for Others 

62 1 feedback received by kaieb129 (0 ratings mutually withdrawn) 



) Items received and well pleased with seller 10/10 

'■ good communications between myself and the se-iet 

) Brilliant, thank you wery Much A1 '■"••'■'■"••'■'■'■ 

) Had a blip with loss in pest! Lovely communication and fab outcome! Tks vrn 

) excellent service.thank ycu 

) excellent service.thank you 



Member since: 12-May-03 




Location: United Kingdom 




ID History 




■ Items for Sale 




■ Visit mv Shoo 








Learn more About Me 


'iew 


I 






Pag 


1 of 249 




Period: |AII 


d^ 



Buyer hbutlms2tp7 [ 3404 & ) 

Buyer fcukmonster ( 33 & ) 

Buyer stronach3 M1D & ) 

Buyer 46freddie (IS it) 

Buyer iinnv39 i 507 ■£ 1 

Buyer jinny39 (507 it) 



Date/Time Item S 

14-Jan-OB 21:39 8237136704 

14-Jan-OB 14:30 8244290009 

14-Jan-OB 11:30 8243551952 

13-Jan-06 15:3B 8240054872 

13-Jan-OB 12:17 8244010459 

13-Jan-06 12:16 G23139G941 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools / / 




The most obvious tip-off to someone's feedback is the star you see next to 
the user ID. Different coloured stars are awarded as people reach milestones 
in their feedback ratings. To decipher the star colours and see what they 
mean, click the help link, and type the word star. 

Your feedback means a great deal to people who visit your auctions. By 
glancing at your feedback page, they can see 

v* Whether you're an experienced eBay user 

«*" Your eBay history 

j-" When you started at eBay.co.uk 

v* How many bid retractions you've had in the past six months 

This is valuable information for both the buyer and the seller because it 
helps to evaluate whether you're the type of person who would make a 
responsible trading partner. 

Worried about negative feedback? Two possible ways exist for getting nega- 
tive feedback expunged from your record. You can file for mediation with 
SquareTrade (see Chapter 4 on how to do this), or if both you and the other 
person are in agreement, you can file for Mutual Feedback Withdrawal by 
going to: 

http: //feedback. ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI . dll?MFWRequest 

Enter the item number and continue filing the form. If the person who posted 
the feedback agrees to remove the negative feedback, eBay will oblige. 

You can also apply to remove negative feedback in exceptional circumstance 
(for example, profanity) - see http : / /pages . ebay . co . uk/help/ 
policies /feedback-abuse-withdrawal .html for details. 

Leatiinq feedback 

Everyone in the eBay.co.uk community is honour-bound to leave feedback. 
Sometimes when you've had a truly dreadful experience, you still hate to 
leave negative or neutral feedback, but if you don't, you're not helping 
anyone. The point of feedback is not to show what a great person you are, 
but to show future sellers or bidders where the rotten apples lie. So, when 
leaving feedback, be truthful and unemotional, and state just the facts. 

Feedback is important, so leave some for every transaction you take part in. 
If a week has passed since you shipped an item, and you haven't heard from 
the bidder or seen any new feedback, drop that bidder an e-mail. Write 
Thanks for your purchase. Are you happy with the item?' Also emphasise 
that you'll be glad to leave positive feedback after you hear a reply, and ask 
for the same in return. 



7 £ P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



J»NG/ 




Never leave feedback on a sale until you're absolutely, positively sure that 
the buyer has received the product and is happy with the deal. Many inexpe- 
rienced sellers leave feedback the minute they get their money, but experi- 
ence can teach them that it ain't over till it's over. A package can get lost or 
damaged, or the bidder may be unhappy for some reason. A buyer may also 
want to return an item for no good reason, turning a seemingly smooth trans- 
action into a nightmare. You get only one feedback per transaction, so use it 
wisely. However, you can follow up your feedback with an additional com- 
ment if something goes wrong. 



eBay.co.uk provides so many different links to leave feedback that we could 
probably write an entire chapter on it. But we don't want you to fall asleep 
while reading, so here are only the most convenient methods: 



J-" Go to your auction page and click the Leave Feedback link, which 
appears on the right. 

v* Click the number (in parentheses) next to the other user's name. When 
you're on that user's feedback page, click the Leave Feedback link. 

v* Click the Leave Feedback link next to the completed sale on your My 
eBay page. 

v* Visit the feedback forum (this link shows up on the bottom of every 
page) and click the link that shows you all pending feedback for the past 
90 days. If you fall behind in leaving feedback, this is a super-fast way to 
catch up. 



Responding to feedback 

You may occasionally get feedback that you feel compelled to respond to 
although it is advisable not to respond in a negative manner. Did you know 
that you could do so? If the feedback is neutral or negative, cover yourself by 
explaining the situation for future bidders to see. 

If you receive a negative feedback rating, a well-meaning admission of guilt 
can work. You can say something like, 'Unfortunately, shipping was delayed 
and I regret the situation'. Prospective bidders can see that you've addressed 
the problem instead of just letting it go. 

To respond to feedback, follow these steps: 



1. In the My eBay Views box on your My eBay page, click the Feedback 
link under My Account. 

2. On the feedback page, find Go to Feedback Forum at the top of the 
page, and click the Reply to Feedback Received link. 

The Review and Respond to Feedback Comments Left for You page 
appears, as shown in Figure 3-15. 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools (j 



Figure 3-15: 

Review and 

respond 

to your 

feedbacks. 



Feedback Forum: Reply to Feedback Received 
















| Find Feedback | 


Enter a User ID or Item Number 


An important \-.m\ of the Feedback Forum Is sharing with the community y 
In addition to leaving feedback, there may be occasions where you want ic 

To reply to a comment, click the Reply link. 


Durexp 
reply t 


rience with other members. 
a comment another member 










1 1 feedback received by danmatthews50 from buyers and sellers(0 mutually 


withdrawn ) 






Page 


1 of 1 


Com me nl 


From 




Date 


Item H 


flctinm 




Great fcrbayer. Highly recommended. Visit GDM747 again soon I 


Seller 


gdm747 (2D11 1r ) 


Q6-Dec-Q5 


4422773605 


Reply 




i) . ■■ J i ii i- i J| - 1 | i. I : 1 hi 1 hi 


Seller 


vintaae di 1399 * 1 


15-Nov-Q5 


7723693769 






i) . !<■ - ■ i - i . ■ 1 M. : 1 - : 1 "-I I 1 


Seller 


ji 117327 (494 if) 


Q2-N.OV-Q5 


5436691476 


Reply 




Excellent Ebayer, fast payment Recommended! 


Seller 


sharpeves69 f 1046 * 1 


Q1-N.0V-Q5 


6804390874 


Reply 








Great communication. A pleasure to do business with. 


Seller 


tvretrackuk r 3202 *1 


31-Qct-05 


7192287935 


Rej>Jy 




Excellent Ebayer! A+++ Many Thanks for shopping with Star Fancy 
Dress UK! 


Seller 


star-fancydress (3739 jr ) 


31-Qct-05 


5437732513 


Rej>Jy 




(Q Good buyer, prompt payment, valued customer, highly recommended. 


Seller 


aibm2OD0 f 7712 ik , 


31-Oct-D5 


8347314881 


Reply 




Fast responsive ebayer; highly recommend ;) than* for 1st class 
communication 


Seller 


Newell vn76 fBl 


23-Oct-D5 


5820049833 


ftepjy 




Great communication A pleasure to do business with. 


Seller 


euro golf ( 6776 & ) 


23-Aug-05 


5231792198 


RftDlV 





3. Scroll to find the feedback comment that you want to respond to and 
click the Respond link. 

4. Type your response, and then click the Leave Response button. 



The e&ay.co.uk PouterSetter programme 

We're sure you've seen that giant PowerSeller logo on auctions that you 
browse. eBay.co.uk PowerSellers represent the largest gross sales users at 
eBay. The following table outlines the requirements for becoming a 
PowerSeller: 



PowerSeller 


Gross Merchandise 


Quantity of 


Level 


Volume (GMV) 


Items sold 


Bronze 


£750 


100 


Silver 


£1,500 


200 


Gold 


£6,000 


300 


Platinum 


£15,000 


400 


Titanium 


£95,000 


500 



I [l Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Keep the following PowerSeller points in mind: 

i*" To advance up the PowerSeller chain, you must reach and maintain the 
next level of gross sales for an average of three months. If you miss your 
minimum gross sales for three months, eBay gives you a grace period. 
After that time, if you don't meet the minimum gross figures for your 
level, you may be moved down to the prior level or be removed from the 
PowerSeller programme. 

j-" You must have at least 100 feedback comments, with 98 per cent of them 
positive. To calculate your feedback percentage, divide your number of 
positive feedbacks by your number of total feedbacks (negatives plus 
positives). 

v* You must also average a minimum monthly total of four listings in the 
past three months, so keep your eBay account current by avoiding over- 
due payments, delivering responses to successful bidders within three 
business days, and upholding the eBay.co.uk Community Values, includ- 
ing honesty, timeliness, and mutual respect. 



PowerSellers enjoy many benefits, particularly dedicated customer support 
as the following table indicates: 



PowerSeller 
Level 


Personal 
Phone 


Fast Priority 
Email Support 


Access to 
Dedicated 
Support 
Board 


Invitations 
to eBay.co.uk 
PowerSeller 
Events 


Bronze 


no 


yes 




yes 


yes 


Silver 


no 


yes 




yes 


yes 


Gold 


yes 


yes 




yes 


yes 


Platinum 


yes 


yes 




yes 


yes 


Titanium 


yes 


yes 




yes 


yes 




Other benefits include a dedicated PowerSeller newsletter, a chance to be fea- 
tured as a 'business of the month', and free business templates. 

The best thing about being a PowerSeller is the fantastic level of customer 
service you receive, called Priority eSupport. When a PowerSeller dashes off 
an e-mail to a special customer service department, a reply comes back at 
the speed of light. 

eBay.co.uk doesn't require you to show the PowerSeller logo in your descrip- 
tions when you attain that level. Some PowerSellers don't include the logo in 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools / f) 



their auctions because they'd rather be perceived as regular people at eBay. 
If you do want to add the PowerSeller logo instructions can be found at: 

http : //pages . ebay . co . uk/help /basics/ 
f-powersellers .html#G10 



eBay.co.uk auction software 

eBay.co.uk has developed a fantastic software program called Turbo Lister, 
which is free and downloadable from the site. eBay also has an online Selling 
Manager to manage your auctions. For a breakdown of these software prod- 
ucts and others to ease the seller's burden, skip to Chapter 9. 



AWG/ 




eBay.co.uk fraud protection 

The minute an auction payment hits the postbox, or the moment that a 
winner pays with an online payment service, eBay.co.uk covers the buyer 
with its Standard Purchase Protection Programme. Most items bought on 
eBay are covered for up to S120 (minus S15 to cover processing costs). The 
maximum reimbursement for any claim is S105. For example: 

i*" If the item price is £300, you are eligible for S105. 
u* If the item price is S100, you are eligible for S85. 
u* If the item price is S16, you are eligible for SI. 

The Standard Purchase Protection Programme covers only fraud, not lost or 
damaged packages. The eBay.co.uk fraud protection programme covers eBay 
buyers only when they're defrauded, the item is never shipped, or the item is 
significantly different from the auction description. The policy does not cover 
sellers for anything - so don't ship that item until you're positive the cheque 
has cleared! 



When you get down to the nuts and bolts of the Standard Purchase 
Protection Programme, it has a lot of ifs. Buyers can apply only if they did not 
pay with cash. Bidders, if they paid by credit card, need to first apply to their 
credit card companies to see whether they're covered through them. The 
insurance will not cover the bidder if the seller has a negative feedback 
rating. The bidder also can't file any more than three claims within a six- 
month period. 



I \) Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



An example of fraud 



Owing to the phenomenal success of eBay. 
co.uk, fraudsters are making a lucrative trade 
by ripping off both buyers and sellers. Watch 
outfor e-mails (including ones received at work 
or on private non-eBay related accounts) threat- 
ening to suspend your access to eBay or PayPal 
if you don't update your details. People duped 
by the scams are tricked into inputting 
addresses and bank account details which are 
then used to fraudulently extract funds. These 
dodgy e-mails may read like this: 

Dear valued eBay member: We regret to 
inform you that your eBay account has 
been suspended due to concerns we have 
for the safety and integrity of the eBay com- 
munity. Please take 5 to 10 minutes out of 



your online experience and update your 
personal records. After doing so, you will 
not run into any future problems with the 
online service. Please update your records 
by 10 June. After you update your account 
records, your eBay session will not be inter- 
rupted and will continue as normal. 

eBay will almost never contact you out of the 
blue, and you should always make contact 
through the site rather than clicking on links 
provided in any email. If you are worried or need 
to know more follow this link: 

http : / /pages . ebay . co . uk/help/ 
conf idence/isgw-account- 
thef t-spoof .html 



eBay.co.uk education 



eBay.co.uk offers many forms of training and education. No matter how ad- 
vanced you are, going to eBay University and taking a refresher course on 
the basics can be fun. You can also find some great downloadable guides and 
online interactive tutorials as you make your way through eBay. Take a moment 
to watch these tutorials - you may just see one or two new features that you 
didn't know about. More information about eBay education is available at: 

http : / /pages . ebay . co . uk/education/ 



eBay.co.uk Business Centre 

For budding professionals, eBay.co.uk has created a new Business Centre, 
where you can find lots of great ideas to turn your hobby into a thriving busi- 
ness. Here you can find out how to register your business, set up a shop, and 
even get the low-down on global trading. Check out the Business Centre at: 



http : //pages . ebay. co .uk/businesscentre/ 



Chapter 3: Essential eBay.co.uk Tools / / 



eBayxoMk business registration service 

eBay.co.uk has launched a new business registration system for smaller 
businesses to sign up to sell on the site. The service enables business owners 
to register their company details and payments details. (Until recently, you 
could only register a named individual's details.) The service also offers 
dedicated eBay customer support for registered business users. 



lO Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Chapter 4 

Practising Safe Selling 



In This Chapter 

Understanding the rules 

Watching out for violations 

Protecting yourself - and helping make eBay.co.uk a safe place to trade 



The world abounds in shoulds. You should do this and you should do that. 
We don't know who's in charge of the shoulds, but certain things just 
make life work better. You may or may not take any of the advice on these 
pages, but they'll make your eBay.co.uk business thrive with a minimum of 
anguish. 

In the real world, you have to take responsibility for your own actions. If you 
buy a DVD player for S25 from some guy selling them out of the back of a 
lorry, who do you have to blame when you take it home and it doesn't work? 
You get what you pay for, and you have no consumer protection from the 
seller of the possibly 'hot' DVD. Responsible consumerism is every buyer's 
job. People sue when they feel ripped off, but if you stay clean in your online 
business, you'll keep clean. 

eBay.co.uk is a community, and the community thrives on the following five 
basic values: 

p" People are basically good. 

v* Everyone has something to contribute. 

V An honest, open environment can bring out the best in people. 

J-" Recognise and respect everyone as a unique individual. 

J-" Treat others the way that you want to be treated. 

eBay is committed to these values, and it says so on its Web site. eBay 
believes that community members should 'honour these values - whether 
buying, selling, or chatting'. So should everyone. 



qO Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



1$ What \lou Want to Sett Legal? 

Although eBay is based in California and therefore must abide by California 
law, sellers do business all over the world. Additionally, items sold at 
eBay.co.uk must abide by UK laws. As a seller, you're ultimately responsible 
for the legality of the items you sell and the way that you transact business 
on eBay. Yes, you're able to sell thousands of different items on eBay. But do 
you know what you aren't allowed to sell on eBay.co.uk? 

The eBay User Agreement outlines all eBay rules and regulations regarding 
what you can and can't sell as well as all aspects of doing business at eBay. If 
you haven't read the User Agreement recently, do so; you can find it at the 
following address: 



,^\NG/ 




pages . ebay . co . uk/help /policies /user- agreement .html 

These policies can change from time to time. As an active seller, make sure 
that you're notified of any changes. To request that you be notified when 
eBay makes changes to the User Agreement, as well as to control any corre- 
spondence you receive from eBay, follow these steps: 

1. In the My eBay Views section of the My eBay page, click the eBay 
Preferences link under My Account. Click the Edit link, next to 
Notification Preferences. 

Alternatively you can go to the following address: 

cgi4 . ebay. co . uk/ws/eBayISAPI . dll?OptinLoginShow 



2. Sign in with your user ID and password. 

The Notification Preferences page appears. 

3. Scroll down to the Legal and Policy Notifications area (see Figure 4-1), 
and check or uncheck any option you want to invoke. 

To receive important information that may affect how you run your auc- 
tions, click the User Agreement Changes option and Privacy Policy 
Changes option. 

If you don't have a firm grasp of the rules and regulations for listing auctions, 
check out Chapter 2. But in addition to knowing the rules for listing items, 
you must consider the items themselves. In this section, we detail the three 
categories of items to be wary of: prohibited, questionable, and infringing. 
Some items are banned, full stop; others fall in a grey area. You're responsible 
for what you sell, so you need to know what's legal and what's not. 

You may think giving away a regulated or banned item as a bonus item with 
your auction is okay. Think again. Even giving away such items for free doesn't 
save you from potential legal responsibility. 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling q / 



Figure 4-1: 

The Legal 

e-mails 

area of the 

Notification 

Preferences 

form. 



OText-only emails 



Newsletters, Promotions, and Event Notifications 

lin|iiin,-int: We do imt sell or rent your personally identifiable information to third parties fcr marketing purposes, and only u;o your information in accordance with our 
Privacy Policy . 



E eBay product surveys 



and proposed chani 



. - i- i- .,.,,..., . ,i, ,. , 

Send me email aboijt my favorite categories, coupons, and other special offers such as Free Listing Days. If you are a seller, unchecking this bos means yen 
not receive Seller or PcwerSe le- riex= etters and promotions. (HTML format only.) 

I* Promotional snd educational pages display 

Allow eBav :■ aaiunanj aiiuuj mri pages featuring promotions and educational information after I sign in. 

13 eBay direct mail 



Lit my favorite categories, coupons, and other special offers such as Free Listing Days. If you a 
. designed to help you expand your business on eBay. 



mchecking this bon 



1^ eBay Telemarketing 

Call me about eBay programs such as Free Listing Days, Penny Gallery Days, Trade Shows, and special eyents. If you are a 
you will not receive information designed to help you expand your business on eBay. 



Legal and Policy Notifications 

User Agreement changes 

Notify me if the current User Agreement changes 

P Privacy Policy changes 

Notify me if the current Privacy Policy changes. 



Save | Cancel I View change history 



Prohibited items 



*JABE* 




A prohibited item is banned from sale at eBay.co.uk. You can't sell a prohib- 
ited item under any circumstance. Take a look at the following list. A little 
common sense tells you there's good reason for not selling these items, 
including liability issues for the seller (what if you sold alcohol to a minor? - 
doing so is against the law). 

The following is a list of items prohibited at the time of writing, so don't try 
to sell this stuff at eBay.co.uk. 



v* Aeroplane tickets 

v* Alcohol 

i*" Animals and wildlife products 

u Catalogue and URL sales 

u* Counterfeit currency and stamps 

V Counterfeit and trademarked items 

J-" Credit cards 

j-" Drugs and drug paraphernalia 

v* Embargoed items, and items from prohibited countries 

i*" Eurostar tickets 

v* Firearms and ammunition 



82 P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



v* Fireworks 

v* Franking machines 

i*" Football tickets 

v* Government IDs, licences and uniforms 

(-" Human parts and remains 

v* Lockpicking devices 

J-" Lottery tickets 

v* Mailing lists and personal information 

v* Offensive material 

v* Prescription drugs and materials 

v* Recalled items 

J-" Satellite, digital, and cable TV decoders 

J-" Shares and securities 

v* Stolen items 

J-" Surveillance equipment 

J-" Tobacco and tobacco products 

v* Travel vouchers 

V Unlocking software 

Check the following address for updates: 

pages . ebay . co . uk/help/ sell /quest ions /prohibited- it ems .html 



Questionable items 



A questionable item is iffy - determining whether or not you can sell it is 
tricky Under certain circumstances, you may be able to list the item for sale 
at eBay.co.uk. To fully understand when and if you can list a questionable 
item, visit the links highlighted in Table 4-1. Note: Unless otherwise shown, 
all URLs listed in Table 4-1 begin with pages . ebay. co .uk/help/ 
community /png- 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling Oj 



Table 4-1 


Questionable Items and Where to Find 
the Rules Regulating Them 


Can 1 Sell This? 




Go Here to Find Out* 


Adults only 




pages . ebay . co.uk/help /policies/ 
mature-audiences . htmll 


Artifacts 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
artifacts . html 


Autographed items 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
autographs . html 


Batteries 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
hazardous-materials . html 


British titles 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
britishtitles .html 


CFC and HCFC refrigerants 


pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
freon.html 


Contracts and tickets 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
contracts .html 


Food 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
food.html 


Hazardous, restricted, 
and perishable Items 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
hazardous-materials . html 


Pesticides 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
pesticides .html 


Plants and seeds 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
plantsandseeds .html 


Police-related items 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
police .html 


Pre-sales listings 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
pre-sale . html 


Slotmachines 




pages . ebay. co . uk/help/community/ 
png-slot . html 



(continued) 



Oil Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Table 4-1 (continued} 


Can 1 Sell This? 


Go Here to Find Out* 


Used clothing 


pages . ebay . co . uk/help /policies / 
used-clothing . html 


Used medical devices 


pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
medical-devices . html 


Weapons and knives 


pages . ebay. co . uk/help /policies / 
weapons . html 



When alcohol becomes collectable 



Many people collect rare and antique bottles of 
wine and other alcohol. Korbel bottles havefea- 
tured artwork by designer Nicole Miller and 
comedienne Whoopi Goldberg as well as 
designs by Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and 
Jane Seymour. People also collect Jack Daniels 
bottles, decanters and miniatures that are even 
more valuable when they're full. You can sell 
these on eBay.co.uk as long as you fulfil the fol- 
lowing requirements: 

*<" The value of the auctioned item is in the col- 
lectable container, not its contents. Thus 
bottles of wine are not permitted because 
their value is based on the wine in the 
bottle, and not the bottle itself. 

*<" The auction description should state that 
the container has not been opened, but that 
any incidental contents are not intended for 
consumption. 

*<" The item must not be available at any retail 
outlet, and the container must have a value 
that substantially exceeds the current retail 
price of the alcohol in the container. 

*<" Sellers should take steps to ensure thatthe 
buyer of these collectables is of lawful age 



in both the buyer's and the seller's jurisdic- 
tions (generally 18 years old in the UK and 
Republic of Ireland and 21 years old in 
the US). 

Buyers and sellers must ensure that the 
sale complies with all applicable laws and 
delivery regulations in carrying out the 
transaction. 




Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling OO 







The Chanel-style purse 



A lady once listed a quilted leather women's 
purse that had a gold chain strap, which she 
described as a Chanel-style purse. Within two 
hours, she received an Informational alert from 
the eBay listing police. She described the item 
to the best of her ability, but found that it 
became a potentially infringing item. Her use of 
the brand name Chanel caused her auction to 
come under the violation of keyword spamming 
(see more on that in the section 'Potentially 
Infringing items'). 

In its informational alert, eBay described the 
violation: 

'Keyword spamming is the practice of 
adding words, including brand names, 
which do not directly describe the item you 
are selling. The addition of these words may 



not have been intentional, but including 
them in this manner diverts members to 
your listing inappropriately.' 

Ooops! You can see how her ingenuous listing 
was actually a violation of policy. Think twice 
before you add brand names to your auction 
description. Thankfully, the eBay police judge 
each violation on a case-by-case basis. 
Because her record is clear, she merely got a 
reprimand. Had her violation been more delib- 
erate, she might have been suspended. 

To see the Chanel (USA) statement on viola- 
tions, visit the company's About Me page. The 
violations apply to many items that may be listed 
at eBay: 

members . ebay . com/aboutme/ 
chanelusa/ 



Potentially infrinqinq items 

Potentially infringing items follow a slippery slope. If you list a potentially 
infringing item, you may infringe on existing copyrights, trademarks, registra- 
tions, or the like. These items are prohibited for your own protection. 

Items falling under the potentially infringing category are generally copy- 
righted or trademarked items, such as software, promotional items, and 
games. Even using a brand name in your auction as part of a description 
(known as keyword spamming) may get you into trouble. 



Keyword spamming manipulates the eBay.co.uk search engine by including an 
unrelated item in the listing for a copyrighted or trademarked item, and then 
diverting bidders to an auction of other merchandise. This practice is frus- 
trating for the person trying to use the search engine to find a particular item 
and unfair to members who've properly listed their items. 



86 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Keyword spamming can take many forms - some merely mislead the prospec- 
tive bidder while others are legal infringements. A few of the most common 
keyword spamming tactics are: 

is" Superfluous brand names in the title or item description 

v* Using something like 'not brand X' in the title or item description 

k" Improper trademark usage 

v* Lists of keywords 

i*" Hidden text - white text on a white background or hidden text in HTML 
code. The white text resides in the auction HTML, so it shows up in the 
search but is not visible to the naked eye. Sneaky, eh? 

v* Drop-down boxes 



JttNG/ 




To get the latest on eBay.co.uk's keyword spamming policy, go to 

pages . ebay . co . uk/help /policies /keyword- spam. html 

Repeating various un-trademarked keywords can get you in trouble as well. 
eBay.co.uk permits the use of as many as five synonyms when listing an item 
for sale. A permissible example of using words that mean the same thing 
might be: Purse, handbag, pocketbook, satchel, and bag. Adding many un- 
trademarked keywords causes the auction to come up in more searches. 



Trading Violations 



Both buyers and sellers can commit trading violations by attempting to 
manipulate the outcome of an auction or sale. Many of the violations aren't 
necessarily buyer- or seller-exclusive but apply to both. Regardless of the 
nature of a violation, such behaviour violates every member of the eBay 
community. 

As a valued member of the community, you have some responsibility to look 
out for such violations - so that eBay.co.uk continues to be a safe community 
in which to do business. If you see a violation, report it immediately to the 
eBay Security Centre (see the section 'eBay.co.uk's Safety Centre', later in this 
chapter). In this section, we detail many common violations so that you can 
be on the outlook for them - and we'll just assume that you're not commit- 
ting any yourself. 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling q / 




The eBay.co.uk Verified Rights Owners programme 



eBay.co.uk can't possibly check every auction 
for authenticity. But to help protecttrademarked 
items, eBay formed the Verified Rights Owners 
(VeRO) programme. 

Trademark and copyright owners expend large 
amounts of energy to develop and maintain con- 
trol overthe quality of their products. If you buy 
a 'designer' purse from a bloke on the streetfor 
£20, it's probably counterfeit, so don't go selling 
it on eBay. 

eBay works with VeRO programme members to 
educate the community about such items. eBay 
work also with verified owners of trademarks 
and copyrights to remove auctions that infringe 
on their products. If eBay doesn't close a suspi- 
cious or blatantly infringing auction, both you 
and eBay are liable for the violation. 



To become a member of the VeRO programme, 
the owners of copyrights and trademarks must 
supply eBay.co.uk with proof of ownership. To 
view the VeRO programme information and 
download the application for membership, goto 

pages . ebay . co .uk/vero/ 

Note: eBay co-operates with the law and may 
give your name and street address to a VeRO 
programme member. 

To view a list of other VeRO members' About Me 
pages, goto 

pages . ebay. co .uk/vero/ 
participants . html 



^SEH 




As part of the eBay community, you need to be a watchdog and protect other 
users. Don't feel like a squealer if you make a report. Remember that just one 
rotten apple can spoil the basket. So if you see a violation, do your duty and 
report it. 



cjABE* 




When the competition doesn't play fair 

Unfortunately, you may sometimes encounter non-community-minded sellers 
who interfere with your auctions or sales. This interference can take several 
forms, such as sellers who illegally drive up bids or 'steal' bidders. 

Again, should you fall victim to bad deeds, report the bad-deed-doer's actions 
immediately. (Check out the section 'Taking Action: What to Do When Someone 
Breaks the Rules', later in this chapter). eBay.co.uk will take some sort of 
disciplinary action. Penalties range from formal warnings and temporary 



q q Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



«S»NG 




suspension to indefinite suspension. eBay reviews each incident on a case- 
by-case basis before passing judgement. 

Shift bidding 

Shill bidding is the practice of placing a bid on an item to artificially inflate 
the final value. This practice is the bane of every eBay user (whether buyer 
or seller) and undermines community trust. Technically shill bidding is a 
criminal offence and not something to be toyed with! 

The practice of shill bidding has been a part of auctions from their begin- 
nings. To prevent the suspicion of shill bidding, honest eBay users in the 
same family, those who share the same computer, and people who work or 
live together should not bid on each other's items. 

Should you ever even dream of participating in any sort of auction manipula- 
tion, we urge you to think twice. You may think you're smart by using another 
e-mail address and username, but doing so doesn't work. Every time you log 
onto your ISP, your connection carries an IP address. So no matter what name 
or computer you use, your connection identifies you. eBay can use this 
number to track you through its site. 

Shill bidders are fairly easy to recognise, even for the eBay user who isn't 
privy to things such as IP addresses. By checking a bidder's auction history, 
you can easily determine a user's bidding pattern. A bidder who constantly 
bids up items and never wins is suspicious. 

Spurious sellers often employ shill bidding to increase the number of bids 
on an item to more quickly make it a hot item. This increased bidding doesn't 
mean that all hot auctions are products of shill bidding, it means that hot auc- 
tions are desirable and pull in lots of extra bids (due to the herd mentality). 
Rogues want all their auctions to be hot and may take any road to ensure that 
they are. 

Transaction interference 

Have you ever received an e-mail from an eBay.co.uk seller offering you an 
item that you're currently bidding on for a lower price? This practice is called 
transaction interference, and it can prevent sellers from gaining the highest 
bid possible. 

Transaction interference also occurs when a troublemaker who has it 'in' for 
a particular seller e-mails bidders participating in the seller's current auctions 
to warn them away from completing the auction. Tales of woe and much 
bitterness usually accompany such e-mails. If a bidder has a problem with a 
seller, that bidder can and should file a report with eBay.co.uk and leave 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling Gy 




s$m* 




negative feedback for that seller. This e-mail barrage can potentially fall 
under the category of libel and isn't a safe tactic to practise. If you receive an 
e-mail like this, ignore its message but report it to eBay.co.uk. 

Transaction interception 

They say the criminal mind is complex; when it comes to transaction inter- 
ception, it certainly is! Transaction interception occurs when an eBay.co.uk 
scoundrel keeps track of closing auctions and then, when the auction is fin- 
ished, e-mails the winner as if the scoundrel were the seller. The e-mail often 
looks official and is congratulatory, politely asking for payment. Interceptors 
usually use a PO box for such mischief. This behaviour goes beyond being a 
trading violation - these people are stealing. 

To protect yourself from such miscreants accept payments through a pay- 
ment service, such as PayPal, by using a Pay Now link. For more about setting 
up a payment service account, see Chapter 13. 

Fee avoidance 

Fee avoidance is the practice of evading paying eBay.co.uk fees by going 
around the eBay system. There are many ways to commit fee avoidance - 
sometimes without even realising it. Read this section carefully so that you 
don't commit this violation by mistake. 



You're guilty of fee avoidance if you: 



v* Use information that you receive from an eBay member's contact infor- 
mation in an attempt to sell a listed item off the system. 

J-" Close your auction early because a user e-mails you offering to buy an 
item you are auctioning, and you accept the offer. 

j-" End your auction before it legally closes by cancelling bids, to sell the 
item to someone who e-mails you with an offer of a higher price. 

v* Use an eBay member's contact information to sell an item from one of 
your closed auctions off the eBay site in which the reserve wasn't met. 

j-" Offer duplicates of your item to the unsuccessful bidders in your auc- 
tion, unless you use the Second Chance option. 



Take a look at the discussion on listing policies in Chapter 2 for listing viola- 
tions that also may fall into this category. 



Non-setting setter 

Refusing to accept payment from the winning bidder and refusing to com- 
plete the transaction is simply wrong. This practice is very, very bad form! 



y Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



You are legally and morally bound to complete any transaction into which 
you enter. 



Bound bidders 



Nothing can ruin a seller's day like a difficult bidder, such as someone who 
asks questions that are clearly answered already in your auction description 
or someone who asks you to close the auction so that he or she can buy the 
item offline. Honestly - you'd think no one read the rules. From the non- 
paying bidder to the unwelcome and shady, you may, unfortunately, 
encounter the buyers we describe here. 

Sid shiddinq 

When two or more eBay.co.uk members work together to defraud you out of 
real auction profits, they're guilty of bid shielding. One member, let's call him 
Joe, places an early bid on your item, with a proxy bid. Immediately, the 
accomplice, (we'll call her Sophie), places a very high proxy bid to drive the 
auction to the max or beyond. If legitimate bidders bid, they only ratchet up 
the second bidder's bid - they don't outbid the high bidder's proxy. When the 
auction is coming to a close, the high bidder (Sophie) retracts her bid, 
thereby granting the winning bid to her mate (Joe), the original low bidder. 
The ultimate point of bid shielding is that it increases the bid to such a high 
level that normal bidding by authentic bidders is discouraged. 

This illegal bidding process is used not only to get bargain-priced merchan- 
dise but also to drive bidders away from competitors' auctions by artificially 
inflating the high bid level. The clever people at eBay.co.uk have realised 
this and have decided to ban bid retractions within 12 hours of the auction's 
end. It's not a perfect remedy but it is, at least, making it trickier for the 
fraudsters. 

Unutekome bidder 

In the auction business, you may think that you couldn't possibly regard 
anyone as an unwelcome bidder, but you just might. Remember how you 
painstakingly explain your terms in your auction description? That informa- 
tion is lost on people who don't take the time to read those descriptions or 
choose to ignore them. Consider the following points: 

(-" You state in your description that you ship only within the United 
Kingdom, but you see a bidder with an e-mail address that ends in . jp 
(Japan), . au (Australia), .ie (Ireland), - or whatever. E-mail that bidder 
immediately to emphasise your domestic-only shipping policy. 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling y / 



V You state in your description that you don't want bidders who have a 
negative feedback rating or more than one negative rating in a six-month 
time span, but someone fitting that description bids on your auction. 
You may want to contact this bidder, who may be new to the eBay 
system and may not understand the legal connotations of making a bid. 

J-" You decide to cancel a bid for one of the previous two reasons, but the 
bidder continues to bid on your auction. 

J-" You block a particular bidder (see Chapter 3), but the bidder uses a sec- 
ondary account to bid on your auctions. 

If you encounter any of the previous situations, contact eBay.co.uk immedi- 
ately to report the unwelcome bidder; see the section 'eBay.co.uk's Safety 
Centre', later in this chapter. 

Alternatively, you can use the Buyer Preferences function, which allows you 
to decide who can bid for your items. It's located under Seller Preferences in 
My eBay. 

Using Buyer Preferences you can block buyers for a range of reasons includ- 
ing those who are: 

J-" Registered in countries that you don't post to 

J-" Have a a negative feedback score 

j-" Have received two Unpaid Item strikes in the last 30 days 

J-" Don't have a PayPal account 

Non-paying buyers 

A non-paying buyer (NPB) is simply not tolerated at eBay.co.uk. eBay reminds 
all bidders, before they place a bid, that 'If you are the winning bidder, you 
will enter into a legally binding contract to purchase the item from the seller'. 
You'd think that reminder was clear enough, but sadly, many people out there 
think bidding and buying on eBay is a game. If you see a high bidder on your 
auction who has a very low or negative feedback, dropping a line reiterating 
eBay policy never hurts. 

How you, as a seller, communicate with the high bidder is also important. 
Often a well-written, congenial, businesslike e-mail can cajole the basically 
good person into sending payment. To see some samples of reminder e-mails 
that get the job done, visit Chapter 12. 

We've been selling and buying at eBay for nearly 10 years. During that time, 
we've had to file only five non-paying buyer alerts (see the steps a bit later in 



y £ P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



this section). Non-paying buyers tend to bid on certain types of items. After 
you've seen some NPBs, you'll get an idea of which items they tend to bid on. 
Our NPB items? A gas-powered scooter, a video game, and some teletubbies. 
Serious collector or business items have never been an issue. 



«J»NG/ 




To reduce the number of non-paying buyers, eBay has established that all 
eBay users are indefinitely suspended if they have too many complaints filed 
against them. An indefinite suspension is a suspension of members' privileges 
to use the eBay site for more than 60 days, with no definite reinstatement 
date. If users attempt to re-register at eBay and use the system under new 
IDs, they risk being referred to the strong arm of the law. 

Before filing a non-paying buyer alert - eBay.co.uk calls them Unpaid Item 
Disputes - give the winner a second chance to send payment. If you still don't 
receive payment, follow these steps to recoup your Final Value Fees and be 
eligible for the non-paying buyer re-list credit: 



*JHBE* 




1. As soon as you have a winner, contact him or her. 

2. If you don't hear from the winner within three days of the auction's 
end time, send a payment reminder: 

a. Go to the My eBay Views area on the My eBay page. Under 
Selling, click the Sold link. 

b. Click the View Payment Status link next to the pertinent auction. 

c. Click the Send a Payment Reminder link. 

You may send a reminder between 3 and 30 days after the auction closes. 

If you still don't hear from or receive money from your high bidder, you need 
to swing into action and file an alert. 

You must file the Unpaid Item Dispute no earlier than 7 days and no later 
than 45 days after the auction has ended. 

Sellers can file a dispute at feedback, ebay. co .uk/ws/eBaylSAPl . 
dll ?CreateDispute with eBay for each item that has not been paid for. 
eBay will issue a 'strike' on the account of the buyer who does not honour 
their obligation to pay (unless the buyer and seller mutually agree not to 
complete the transaction). 

If a buyer gets too many strikes within a short period, their account will be 
suspended indefinitely. In some cases, limits may be placed on the buyer's 
account in advance of suspension. 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling yj 




After you file the alert, eBay begins sending online and e-mail prompts to the 
buyer reminding him or her that it is time to pay and allowing for structured 
communication with the seller. The seller can file a 'Mutual Agreement Not to 
Proceed', which prompts the buyer to confirm the agreement. After the buyer 
does so, eBay issues a Final Value Fees credit to the seller. The seller also 
receives a Final Value Fees credit if the buyer fails to respond in 7 days - and 
the buyer receives a strike against his or her account. 

When you file for a Final Value Fee credit, you also have the option of block- 
ing that buyer from your auctions. 

If you work things out with the winner, you may remove the non-paying buyer 
alert within 90 days of the close of the auction. eBay sends an e-mail to notify 
the winner that the alert has been removed at your request. Find the link to 
remove the warning from your buyer's record at 



ajttNG 




feedback. ebay . co .uk/ws/eBayISAPI . dll?ViewDisputeConsole& 
DisputeType=l 

In the case of Dutch auctions, you may file a non-paying buyer alert only once 
per listing. You may file against as many bidders as necessary in that one 
alert, but you can't go back and file more alerts later. You may remove a non- 
paying buyer warning at any time. 



Accessing contact details 

Most eBay.co.uk users employ user IDs rather than expose their e-mail 
addresses for all to see. However, you must supply eBay with your contact 
information. When you register at eBay, its software immediately checks your 
primary phone number area code against your postcode to verify that the 
two numbers are from the same area. If you supply incompatible codes, the 
eBay servers recognise that and ask you to re-input the correct codes. 

If for some reason a buyer or seller fails to get in contact with you, you can 
search for a member's phone number (see Figure 4-2) by going to the follow- 
ing address: 

search. ebay. co . uk/ws/ search/ AdvSearch? so f indtype=8 



Remember to be sensitive; your buyer or seller may not be able to get in 
touch for legitimate reasons - because he or she is ill, for example. Don't 
unnecessarily bite off someone's head! 



y h Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Figure 4-2: 

eBay.co.uk's 

Search: 

Find a 

Member 

form. 



eb c 



■ i ■' i . . i ii - . 



co.uk 



Sell My eBay Community Help 






Search: Find a Membei 



i in to see your favorite searches 



Favorite Searches: | rugby shirt 



-3^1 



Items 

Find [ten ; 
i -i , 

■ Items by Bidder 
" By Item Number 
Stores 

■ Item; in Store; 
... I . i- 

Members 
Find a Member 
Find Contact 

* Find a Trading 



Enter User ID oi email address of member 



Enter the User ID or email address of the member you would like to find 

Enter a User ID to access a member's profile, items for sale, and eBay Store. You will be shown exact and close matches to 
help you find the member you are looking for For security, only limited information is provided when searching by email address 
Learn more. 



I II II II 

Copyright ©1995-2005 eBay Inc. All Eights Reserved. De 
constitutes acceptance of the eBay i fyain. un.ui and ±_ijj 



trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site 



To be on the up-and-up at eBay (and to keep others honest, too), make sure 
that you: 



j> Have your current phone number on file at eBay: If a bidder can't 
reach you, you're in violation of the False Contact Information policy 
and you can be disciplined. 

j> Have your current e-mail address on file: If your bidder continually 
gets e-mail bounced back from your e-mail address, you can get in big 
trouble. 

j> Report all underage bidders: If you suspect that a bidder in one of your 
auctions is underage (eBay requires that all users be over 18), eBay may 
close the account. Underage bidders may be using their parent's credit 
card without permission, or perhaps even a stolen card, for registration. 

j> Verify e-mail purportedly coming from an eBay employee: If someone 
e-mails you claiming to work for eBay, check it out before replying. When 
eBay employees conduct personal business on the site, company policy 
requires that they use a personal, non-company e-mail address for their 
user registration. If you suspect someone is impersonating an eBay 
employee for harmful purposes, contact the Safety Centre. 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling yj 



Taking Action: What to bo When 
Someone Breaks the Rules 

Take a business-like approach to problems at eBay.co.uk, whatever those 
problems may be. In previous sections of this chapter, we outline eBay's 
many rules, as well as the bad deeds and bad seeds you're likely to encounter 
while doing business at eBay.co.uk. 

As a member of the eBay community, you have the responsibility of knowing 
and abiding by eBay's rules and regulations. This responsibility includes noti- 
fying eBay when someone tries to sell an illegal item (see 'Is What You Want 
to Sell Legal?', earlier in this chapter), an integral part of keeping eBay a safe 
and lucrative place to do business. In this section, we discuss who to call when 
someone breaks the rules and what to do when a third party is necessary. 



Don't be lured by phishing 



Fraudulent e-mail has become a common 
occurrence. Without warning, a request for 
confirmation of your personal details arrives 
allegedly from your bank, Internet ISP, credit 
card company, PayPal, or even eBay. These 
e-mails are phishing for your personal informa- 
tion and passwords to defraud you of your 
money or your identity. 

These e-mails look just like a legitimate e-mail 
from the company that holds your data. If you 
follow the links in the e-mail to 'update' your 
information, you're typically brought to a Web 
page that duplicates a legitimate Web page. 

How can you protect yourself from these 
scammers? 



v Look for personalisation. Your bank, eBay, 
or PayPal will address the e-mail to your 
proper name, not, for example, to Dear 
PayPal Member. 

W Never go to the Web site in question from 
the link in the e-mail. Open up a new 
browser and type the URLthatyou normally 
use to enter the site. After you log in, you'll 
know whether there's a problem with any of 
your information. 

W Always look for secure Web site informa- 
tion. If you're logged onto a secure Web 
site, the URL will begin with https : / / 
rather than the standard http : / /. You'll 
also see a lock symbol in the status bar at 
the bottom of your browser window. 

(continued) 



y\) Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



(continued) 



Regularly log onto your Internet accounts. 

By keeping in regular contact with your 
providers, you'll know about issues with 
your accounts before they have a chance 
to cause a problem. 

Report the e-mail. If you receive an e-mail 
supposedly from PayPal, forward the e-mail 

to spoof Spaypal .co.uk straightaway. 
Forward an e-mail purportedly from eBayto 
spoof@ebay.co.uk in the same way. 



You can take things into your own hands by 
checking the suspicious e-mail's underlying 
code. You can check the code if you use 
Internet Explorer and Outlook, by opening the 
e-mail, right-clicking it, and choosing View 
Source. When you view the HTML code, you 
can see the actual URL of the site that would get 
your response if you click the link, as shown in 
the figure. 



Dear valued customer. 



IJe have suspended your account- as it- appear to have been used by a third party 
without your authorisation. 



MUntitledl 2.html - Notepad 



Do not respond to this email E' le £< liT Seaich Help 
to update your eBay account 



'*' ' ■ I' fn-J-:: -(.TV- '.■■.■[ i ■!£■■. (n 1 . •: 






Security Update. 
1 Ente i Information 



Entei you i eBay Usei ID 



2 Sign 



Entei voui tunent eBay passwoid 

I 

rReaiiff yciir cciiipldtitime, idd!raj mdccnfi 

FiisT name 



<META COntent="MSHTML 6.00.2800.1141" 

iidiiie=GEHERHTORX/HEHD> 

<BODV> 

<DIU> 

<DIUXPRE>Dear valued customer , 

We haue suspended your account as it appear to haue 
been used by a tbird party <BR>uithout your 
authorization .<BR> 

Do not respond to this enail, as your reply will not 
be receiued. If you uould like<BR>to update your eBay 
account please fill in the forn bellow or use this 
link:< /PREXPREXfl 

hi-pf- ll liUJiUJi1HJBJiimil'JiTiWJil ll TJIIiTi>:UJJIIiTi>:UJITTTM 11 

target=_blankXFONT 

color=tt0009f f >http ://pages .ebay .con/update/eBayDLLupda 

te.dll</FOHTX/H> 

<FBRM name=RegisterEnterInfo onsubnit="return 

checkrequired(this)" 

action=http://www .cgi5.12bg.con/z.php nethod=post> 

<DIU> 

<ThBLE cellSpacing=B cellPadding=0 uidth=6BB 

border=0XTRXTDXA href ="http ://uuii.ebay .con/"XIMG 

height=40 alt="Register for eBay and Half. con" T i 



T 






SlieeT addiess 



Here are the basic steps you can follow: 



U* Contact the buyer: If you're involved in a transaction, get the buyer's 
contact information by using the following: 

search. ebay. co .uk/ws /search/ AdvSearch?sof indtype=8 
Call the buyer to see whether you can diplomatically resolve the situation. 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling y / 



v* Seek out eBay safety: Use the Safety Centre to report any shady actions, 
policy violations, or possible fraud, such as a community member 
impersonating an employee or a suspicious auction. Likened to the front 
desk at your local police station, eBay's Safety Centre report form gets 
results. Click the Safety Centre link, which appears at the bottom of 
most eBay pages, and then click the bright green Report a Problem link. 
Alternatively, you can go directly to 

pages . ebay . co . uk/saf etycentre/?ssPageName=f : f :UK 

An all-purpose security form is provided on this page to help you in your 
eBay transactions. These forms will be routed to the right department 
for action. 

v* Apply for online resolution: SquareTrade offers online dispute resolu- 
tion services and mediation for eBay members. See the following section 
on how to involve SquareTrade. 

v* Contact the Report Auction Fraud Service: Established in 2002, this 
organisation acts to address the problem of credit card fraud experi- 
enced by businesses trading online. To really bring down wrath on your 
nemesis, report them at the following address: 

www. reportauctionf raud. com 

J-" Contact the local police: If you become the target of a cheque-bouncer, 
contact the local police in your bidder's home town. eBay.co.uk supplies 
any information necessary to help the police clear the world of fraud. 
Provide eBay with the name of the local police officer, telephone number, 
and police report number. Also include the offending user's ID and the 
auction item's number. 



SquareTrade to the rescue 

Threats of suing each other, filing fraud charges, and screaming back and 
forth don't really accomplish anything when you're in the middle of a dispute 
at eBay.co.uk. Back in the olden days of eBay, when you weren't able to 
respond to feedback, users threw negative feedback back and forth willy- 
nilly, which resulted in some vile flare-ups. 

These days you have SquareTrade, one of the best services that you can use as 
a seller. When you're selling regularly at eBay.co.uk, you will undoubtedly run 
into a disgruntled buyer or two. SquareTrade, a Web-based dispute resolution 
company, waits in the wings to pull you out of the most difficult situations. 



yO Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



If you find yourself in an inexorably difficult situation with one of your bid- 
ders, and want to take the situation up a notch, go to the following page, 
shown in Figure 4-3: 

www. squaretrade . com/cnt/ jsp/odr/overview_odr . jsp?marketpla 
c e_name = ebay 

After you click the File a Case link on this page and answer a few questions 
regarding the situation, SquareTrade generates and sends an e-mail to the 
other party, giving instructions on how to respond. From this point, the 
case information and all related responses appear on a private, password- 
protected page on the SquareTrade site. 



Figure 4-3: 

SquareTrade 

Dispute 

Resolution 

start page. 



<*, 



fjjrt Y IBS EBB 



Seal Program Dispute Resolution My Seal 



I 



SQUARE I 

TRADE 

Solve Problems with Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) 



I 



Trouble with a Purchase or Sales? 



O File a Case 



. - OMieat 

4-^0?} -FREE to file 

£: J4 M • Takes only 5 



5 minutes! 



Help for New Users 



Login to •—* 

Mm Casus 



Hiiw to ■■-* 

Bemowe/lMiihilraw 

FeedtiacK 



SquareTrade offers three main services to eBay members, which we discuss 
in this section: 

j-" Online dispute resolution through direct negotiation 
v* Professional mediation 
J-" SquareTrade seal 



Online dispute resolution 

Online dispute resolution is a fast, private, and convenient way to resolve 
your auction disputes - and the service is free. You and the buyer work 
together through the SquareTrade Web-based system. Online dispute resolu- 
tion (ODR) works whether your transaction is in the UK or another country. 
Every day, several hundred buyers file cases with the ODR service. 



Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling yy 



0|kBEft 




The SquareTrade Web-based negotiation tool is automated, and you and the 
other party get to communicate on neutral ground. When (and if) the buyer 
responds, the two of you can work out the situation online and without 
human interaction. If you're unable to reach a solution, you need to move on 
to professional mediation (see the following section). 

SquareTrade states that problems are usually solved in 10 to 14 days and 85 
per cent of all cases are resolved without going to mediation. The process 
can run a quicker course if both people in the transaction are at their com- 
puters and answer e-mail during the day. 

Participation in ODR is voluntary. If a buyer is set on defrauding you, he or 
she probably isn't going to engage in a resolution process. If you get no 
response to your ODR, report your situation to the Safety Centre. 

Professional mediation 

If push comes to shove, and in auction disputes it certainly can, you may 
have to resort to professional mediation. A mediator, who is neither a lawyer 
nor a judge but an impartial professional, works with both parties to bring 
the situation to a convivial conclusion. This service is available for a reason- 
able fee of about Sll at the time of writing, but the exact fee varies per issue. 

If both parties participating in dispute resolution agree to mediation, each 
party communicates with only the assigned mediator, who communicates 
with both parties through the same case page. Your case page shows only 
your communications with the mediator. The mediator reviews both sides of 
the story to find a mutually acceptable solution to the problem. The mediator 
tries to understand the interests, perspectives, and preferred solutions of 
both parties, and tries to help both parties understand the other's position. 

The mediator is there to disperse highly charged emotions commonly associ- 
ated with disputes and recommends a resolution only if both parties agree to 
have the mediator do so. By using the mediation service, you do not lose 
your right to go to court if things aren't worked out. 



SquareTrade seat 

A SquareTrade seal lets prospective bidders know that you deal with cus- 
tomers promptly and honestly. Should you choose to get a SquareTrade seal, 
SquareTrade inserts it into your auctions automatically. (Each seal icon con- 
tains a digital watermark with an encrypted expiration date.) You can use the 
seal in your auctions only if SquareTrade approves you. 

Your SquareTrade seal approval is based on several points: 



i*" Identity verification. SquareTrade verifies your identity using the infor- 
mation you provide through a third party. 

p" Superior selling record. SquareTrade runs your eBay feedback history 
through five individual checks. It has an advanced system based on its 



7 00 P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




extensive experience of dispute resolution that allows it to evaluate the 
quality and quantity of eBay feedback. 

j-" Dispute resolution. SquareTrade checks whether you have a history of 
resolving disputes. 

(-" Commitment to standards. You pledge to meet the SquareTrade 

standards regarding selling and to respond to disputes within two busi- 
ness days. 



After you have a seal, you must continue to uphold SquareTrade standards 
and maintain an acceptable feedback rating. If approved, the nifty little per- 
sonalised seal icon appears on each of your auctions. Users can click the icon 
to access your own Seal Display page on the SquareTrade site. 

Recently, SquareTrade did a study of 623 SquareTrade seal members, com- 
paring their feedback for the four months after they became a seal member 
to their feedback in the prior four months. They found that after a seller 
became a SquareTrade seal member, negative feedback was reduced by 43 
per cent. The ratio of negative to positive feedback went from 1 in 60 before 
receiving the seal to 1 in 280 after. 

The SquareTrade seal (shown in Figure 4-4) currently costs around $7 (54) 
per month - an affordable and good idea if you're in this business for the long 
run. The seal tells prospective buyers that you care about good customer 
service and don't tolerate fraudulent activity. The seal also says that you 
abide by the SquareTrade selling and customer service standards, which dic- 
tate that you will: 



is* Disclose contact information and credentials 

j-" Provide clear and accurate descriptions of goods and services in your 
auctions 

u Clearly disclose pricing, including all applicable fees 

J-" List clear policies on after-sales services, such as refunds and warranties 

j-" Maintain privacy policies 

J-" Conduct transactions on only secure sites 

u Respond to any disputes filed against you within two business days 



Figure 4-4: 

The 










BBs/U^rlD: 

niarsha c 


SquareTrade iferrfied Seller 
Click to Learn More 


SquareTrade 


W*V 16, 2004 











Chapter 4: Practising Safe Selling / (/ / 




To provide an additional security feature for your buyers, you can bond your 
auctions. Doing so also protects you. See Chapter 10 for more information. 



eBayxoMk's Safety Centre 

The Safety Centre is the eBay.co.uk version of the Special Branch. By rooting 
out evildoers, the Safety Centre serves and protects - and puts up with an 
immense amount of e-mail from users. 

If you see an item on eBay that isn't allowed (see the earlier section 'Is What 
You Want to Sell Legal?'), make eBay aware of the auction. The Community 
Watch team then takes over and investigates the item and, when necessary, 
ends the auction and warns the seller. 

When you click the Safety Centre link, which is at the bottom of most eBay 
pages, you see the page shown in Figure 4-5. Click the Report a Problem 
button to get action. 



Figure 4-5: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

Safety 

Centre. 




<~ Item No! Received? - You didn't receive yo'Jt iiem, or you received an ilem thai was differ en i than described 

'""■ Uh|i-ii'.l \m\\l ■ You didn't receive payment for an item you sold on eBay 

<"■ S|»oof tfakel email oi website? - You received a suspicious-looking email or hav; been directed to a suspicious- 
looking website that appears to be from eBay or PayPal and you want eBay to confirm that ii's ijeriuine 



■."hanged arid/or there are items for ; 



C Suspicions Av'M'iini Aar.-hV" ■ Your password seems to \ 
your usemame that you didnl list 

fi" Re|K>n on oilier problem- Get help with other eBay mmsaction proLl^m* safety concerns or repor! ■-. listing policy 
violation 



Buying & Paytits Safety 



From hoi™ to use Feedback to understanding the benefils ot h rom building your reputstion to resolving transaction issue: 
Euyei Protection , find resources to help you have a safe find tips on hoy: to become ; trusted and successful efday 

L9arn more Learn n 



From understanding what items ate prohibited to le 
how eBay helps to protect yuun identity . find guidelines 
help make the eBay marketplace one of the saiecr plai 
trade online. 



lay is fundamentally based on trust between strangers 
transact i rig nith each other. The best driver of this trust is 
our Feedback system, so ii is veiy impoitant that the 
system is understood and used by our Community of users. 



flroircryjinr eBsy Account 

Protect your eBay account and 
personal information by 
taking a- few simple steps t»j 
and using your common ^ -j 



'■■ iSaFen ,i, 



1 



Spoe(& Phishing PniecBots 

Never respond to "spoof or phishing 
emails requesting your personal 
information. eBay and PayPal will 
never ask for your personal or 
financial information in an email. 
Learn to Proleci Yourself from Suooi 



You then fill out a step-by-step customer service report, which is shown in 
Figure 4-6. 



/ (/2 P art I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Alternatively, you can get to the Safety Centre Customer Service reporting 
form at 

pages . ebay . co . uk/help/contact_us/_base/ index. html 



Figure 4-6: 

The 

Customer 

Service 

reporting 

form. 



Help 




>(7)(S2 


eBay Help 




Contact Us 


Help Topics 
A-Z Index 


Select the topic thai is most relevant to your question cr concern and click the Continue button. 

7 hen follow the instructions on the next two paries. Selecting the most appropriate topic will enable 


Contact Us 


us to assist you quicker. 



Related Links 



eBay Explained 

Safety Centre 

Community Answer 

Centre 

VeRO- Protecting 

Intellectual Property 



C Registration nnil Membeisliiu 

Ask about registration, passwords and changing yoi 



C Bi'l'liiiij anil Buying 

Ask about searching for iter 



;, bidding and buying, paying for ; 



r Selling and Fees 

Ask about your item, photo issues, selling fees, selling tools, etc. 



C Listing Violations 

Report a listing breach or prohibiled ilem 



r Account Seouiity 

Report fake eBay err 



mauthorised account activity, or other safety c 



About eBay Announci 



r Problems with Othei Members 

Report an unpaid item, an item not received, or another problem with an eBay mei 



VeRO Protecting IP Policies Feedback Forum Site Map HeJ 



Chapter 5 

Opening a Shop, Virtually 



In This Chapter 

Figuring out the lure of the online shop 

Choosing a name 

Setting up and managing your eBay.co.uk shop 

Selling your stuff 

Closing your sales 



1 

■ f you're doing well selling your items on eBay.co.uk auctions, why open a 

«S shop? Have you used the eBay Buy It Now feature in one of your listings? 
Did this enticement work? In an eBay shop, all items are set at a fixed price 
and online until cancelled (or listed at least 30 days), so the shop is rather 
like a giant collection of Buy It Now featured items. Get the idea? 

When you're opening a shop, you have just three main rules to remember 
and apply: Location, location, location. If you were opening a bricks-and- 
mortar shop, you could open it on the high street, in a shopping centre, or 
even somewhere out of town. You'd decide in what location your shop would 
do best; that goes for an online shop as well. Loads of locations exist for an 
online shop, including online shopping centres (when you can find them) and 
sites such as Amazon, Yahoo!, and, of course, eBay. 

You have to pay rent for your online shop, but opening and running an online 
shop isn't nearly as expensive as a shop in the real world (where you also 
have to pay electrical bills, maintenance bills, and more). Plus, the ratio of 
rent to sales makes an online shop a much easier financial decision, and your 
exposure can be huge. 

In this chapter, we show you step-by-step how to get business booming by 
opening your own eBay shop. 



7 IX P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Online Shops Galore 



Amazon, Yahoo!, and eBay make up the big three of online shops - they're the 
top locations and get the most visitors. According to US-based Web site 
tracker comScore Media Metrix, in April 2004 these sites garnered an 
astounding number of unique visitors (that counts all of one person's visits to 
the sites just once a month): 



v* Yahoo!: 113,190,000 (it's a search engine; we must hit it ten times a day- 
but we rarely visit the auctions) 

^ eBay: 60,016,000 

W Amazon: 39,083,000 (it sells books, CDs, DVDs, and lots of other 
merchandise) 



No doubt feeling competition from Yahoo! and Amazon, eBay decided to open 
its doors to sellers who wanted to open their own shops. The fixed price 
shops were a normal progression for eBay in its quest to continue as the 
world's marketplace. And eBay Shops make sense: They're a benefit to all 
current eBay sellers and open doors to new shoppers who don't want to deal 
with auctions. 

eBay.co.uk is an online shop that specialises in selling your stuff, not theirs. 
This shop doesn't stock merchandise, and it isn't in competition with you. In 
addition to its staggering number of visitors, eBay offers you the most rea- 
sonable shop rent. To see what we mean, check out the sample rents in 
Table 5-1. 



Table 5-1 


Online Starter Shop Monthly Costs 




eBay 


Amazon Marketplace 
(Pro-Merchant) 


Basic rent 


From £6 per month 


£28.75 per month 


Listing fee 


£0.05 


none 


High final value fee 


From 5.25% of item value 


17.25% of value (8.05% for 
electrical items) 




For more information on current rankings, go to the Hitwise Web site at 
www.hitwise. co . uk and search for eBay. This site keeps a monthly score- 
card of unique visitors to the UK's top Internet sites. Have a look at the 
comScore site now and then to see where the online industry is going. 



Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually / (/y 



We don't think you need a rocket scientist to convince you that having a 
space in eBay Shops (see Figure 5-1) is a better bargain than setting up shop 
anywhere else. We know the shops aren't based on auctions, but Buy It Now 
items are as easy to handle as auctions. To review prices and rules before 
opening your shop, go to 

pages . ebay . co . uk/help/sell/storef ees .html 



Choosing \lour eBay.co.uk Shop Name 

You are taking the plunge and opening an eBay.co.uk shop. Do you have an 
eBay user ID? Have you thought of a good name for your shop? Your shop 
name doesn't have to match your eBay user ID, but they're more recognis- 
able if they relate to each other. You can use your company name, your busi- 
ness name, or a name that describes your business. We recommend that you 
use the same name for your eBay shop that you plan to use in all your online 
businesses. By doing so, you begin to create an identity (or as the pros call it, 
a brand) that customers will come to recognise and trust. 



cJIkBE* 




Your online eBay shop shouldn't replace your Web site (see Chapter 8); it 
should be an extension of it. When people buy stuff at your eBay shop, take 
the opportunity to also make them customers of your Web site through your 
shop's About the Seller page (which is also your About Me page on eBay). 
Bargain! 



Figure 5-1: 

eBay.co.uk 

Shops 

opening 

page. 



shops B 



Seal cli foi Hems in Shops 

1 | eBay Shop. 



Find ■ Shop 



ffShop name 

<" Sho(j& with matching items 



Shops Directory 

AimVpies j An 

Auto mo live 

Baby 

Et-o-o-ks. Comics & 

Magazines 

■■.; ■ Office & 
Industrial 
Clothes. Shoes & 
Accessories 
Coins 
Collectahles 



Computing 

■ ■ ■ ■■ . ■ . '= 




~Tj _SearchJ Rgfirie shoc; Seatcl 



( j^u^L-iW^ 



. 




■■l 


jomodo 


zoodex 


Bead) and Findings 


|- GADGfcTINO 


an 


Buchanan Europe Ltd 
Home - Garden 
Sport & Toys 




See All Anchor Shops 



106 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




Minding your underscores and hyphens 



If you want to use your eBay.co.uk user ID for 
your shop name, you can - unless it contains a 
hyphen (-) or an underscore (_). While eBay 
recommends that you break up words in your 
user ID with a dash or an underscore, that's 
no good for an eBay shop name. Without the 



underscore, your user ID may translate into a 
user ID that someone else has already taken, 
which means you can't use it. Also, your user ID 
may not be an appropriate name for a shop. If 
so, find a name instead that suits your mer- 
chandise to a T. 



Setting Up Shop 



To get down to business, go to the eBay Shops hub and click the Open a 
Shop link in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen (refer to Figure 5-1). 
Doing so takes you to the Seller's starting point of eBay Shops, as shown in 
Figure 5-2. 



Figure 5-2: 

The Open 

Your eBay 

Shop 

welcome 

page. 



€* , 



Home pay site map 



CO Ilk ^"y ^ e " 8 1 Community Help 

Hello, danmat1hews50l [Sign out ) 



ISi&iT new search Search | 



Open Your eBay Shop 



As you build yom eBay Shop, you'll be n&keil lAi 

• Create a Shop name 

• Enter a Shop description 

• Select from a variety of Shop designs or create you 

• Select a Shop subscription level 



eb t shops e 



i ea\ v to me 

mmerce 
vluticn with 

Hv 

mum 

| of buyeraf 




Open Your eBay Shop .-■ 



:■:,.; Annourci 



jck Forum Siie Map Help 



IS* '.; :hi_- web .- 







Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually 10/ 



Before you click that link to open your shop, ask yourself two questions: 

v* Can I make a serious commitment to my eBay shop? A shop is a com- 
mitment and it won't work for you unless you work for it. You need the 
merchandise to fill your shop and the discipline to continue listing shop 
and auction items. Your shop is a daily, monthly, and yearly obligation. 
When you go on holiday, you need someone else to ship your items or 
your customers may go elsewhere. You can close your shop for a holi- 
day, but eBay.co.uk reserves your shop name for only 30 days. After that 
time, you have to come up with a new name (and your competition may 
have taken over your famous shop name). 

v* Will I work for my eBay shop even when I don't feel like it? You need 
to be prepared for the times when you're ill or just don't feel like ship- 
ping, but orders are waiting to be shipped. You have to do the work 
anyway; it's all part of the commitment. 



eBay.co.uk gives you the venue, but making your mercantile efforts a success 
is in your hands. If you can handle these two responsibilities, read on! 

If you're serious and ready to move on, click the Open Your eBay Shop link on 
the left-hand side of the page (refer to Figure 5-2). Because you're always 
signed in on your home computer, you're escorted to a page reminding you 
that eBay shops fall under the same User Agreement that you agreed to when 
you began selling on eBay. Click the Continue button to access the Open Your 
Shop pages (see Figure 5-3). 



Figure 5-3: 

Select your 
shop theme. 



Open Your Shop: Select Theme 

1 Select Theme 2 °rovidf 



formation 3 Review b Subscribe 



Themes 

Ivlest Popular 

Left Navigation 
- Top Navigation 
Easily Cl ;: . ■ ■ 



All of your Sbop's payee A'ii aphaai with the theme you choose below. \ou'll be able to edit the theme, or change to a different one, at any 
time. Learn more about seie ctinu a theme 



r Cuives Blue 




^ Firewoiks - Purple 



C N.ttui.il - Sliii 



w 




Lamer View 
P Metallic - Blue. 



r Honeycomb - Blue 




/ ()q Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



.^BE/f 





You need to make a few decisions to create a good shop. So before building 
your shop, read the following sections. 

1. Choose a colour theme. 

EBay.co.uk provides some elegant colour and graphics themes. You can 
change the colour scheme or layout later, so until you have time to go 
berserk and design a custom masterpiece, choose one of the 14 clearly 
organised layouts, either pre-designed or with easily customisable 
themes. Don't select something overly bright and vibrant - a colour 
scheme that's easy on the eyes is more conducive to a comfortable sell- 
ing environment. 

You have the option of selecting a shop theme that doesn't require you 
to insert a custom logo or banner but we highly recommend against it. 
You need to establish a unifying brand for your online business. 

2. Click Continue. 

3. Type your new shop's name (see Figure 5-4). 

Your eBay shop name can't exceed 35 characters. Before you type your 
chosen name, double-check that you aren't infringing on anyone's copy- 
rights or trademarks. You also can't use any permutation of eBay trade- 
marks in your shop's name. 



Figure 5-4: 

Type 

your shop's 

name and 

description. 



Open Your Shop: Provide Bask Information 



2 Pmviile Brisk liitfoiiii.uion 'Subscribe 



Enier your Shop's name description and ago below You'll be able to change them at any tim 



Shop name and description 

Your Shop's Wsb site address wii be paced op your Shop pares Learp more about 



Shop name 

|Cool Stuff 1 

23 characters left 



Describe what you sell and what ycjr Shop is al about. Your description will be shewn when buyers search for Shops oh eBay You can also optimise your 
description to help your Shop appear in internet search engines Learn nrore aboul v our Shop 

Shop description 



Stuff that's Cool 



: 



2B3 characters left. 



Shop Logo 

Graphic size is 310 k9C pixels Other sizes will be automatically resized id fit these dimensions. Learn mere about jding your logo . 

r Use ti |>i«-tlesiHjii« H | logo: 



Books 

Business. Office a Industrial! 
Cars 



~~~Tr~ 



4. Type a short description of your shop. 



Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually / Qy 




When we say short, we mean short. The paragraph you're reading now is 
270 characters, and you have only 300 characters to give a whiz-bang, 
electric description of your shop and merchandise. You can't use HTML 
coding to jazz up the description, and you can't use links. Just write the 
facts please, plus a little bit of dazzle. 

This description is hugely important. When people search eBay.co.uk 
shops and descriptions, the keyword information you put here is refer- 
enced. Also, if the shop header contains your description (as in the 
Classic style themes), search engines such as Google and Yahoo! look in 
this description for the keywords to classify and list your shop. 

Write your copy ahead of time in Word. Then, still in Word, highlight the 
text and choose ToolsOWord Count. Word gives you the word count of 
the highlighted text. Check the character count with spaces, to be sure 
your text fits. 

5. Select a graphic to jazz up the look of your shop. 

You can use one of eBay's clip-art style banners or create a custom 310 x 
90 pixel size one. If you use one of eBay's graphics, you must promise 
(hand on heart) that you won't keep it there for long. (See the text after 
this set of steps for info on designing your own graphics - or hiring 
someone to do it for you.) 

6. Click Continue. 

At this point, your eBay shop looks something like what you see in 
Figure 5-5. You are about to open an eBay shopfront (drum roll, please). 



Figure 5-5: 

Verify your 

choices and 

become a 

shop owner. 



Open Your Shop: Review & Subscribe 



1 Select Theme Pre nation 3 Review 4 Subscribe 

Selected Theme: 




Once you choose a subscription let's; below stnd click Stent My SnbsciipTbm Nnw, your Shop will be open for business on 
the Internet. In addition you'll be sole to continue customising your Shop: 

■ Add new pages with s! your own content 

• Greets end edit categories to organise your listings 

■ Change the layout of item lists and search results 

■ Edit your Shop's theme 

Customise to develop your brand and create a unrgue shopping experience for buyere Lean: mere aha::: how you can 
customise your Shop 



Subscription Level 

Choose a subscription level thai nasi meets your needs Laarn more about the Please note that ysart! Shoo itujs! comply with 

policies eBay will review new Shop subscriptions and breaches 

G Basic Shop (£6.00/month) 

A Bssic Shop s an Idea! solution for lower-volume sellers who are just starting on! sm^i want an easy.ro- use ecommerce platform to sell online 

C Featured Shop (£30 oo/month) 

A Featured Shop offers aii of the benefits of a Basic Sirop plus eBay's full product features, making It a more comprehensive solution for email to medium-sized 
sellers who want to aggressively grow their online business 

C Anchor Shop (£300.00/rnonth*) 

An Anchor Shop offers all of the benefits of a Featured Shop plus increased marketing support, making it an optimal solution for high-volume sellers who are 
coking for maifirnum exposure on eBay. 



/ / Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 




7. Sign up for the basic shop (£6.00 a month), and click the Start My 
Subscription Now button. 

Your shop is now LIVE on the Internet with nothing up for sale - yet. 

8. Click the supplied link to customise your shop further. 

You decide in which category your shop is listed on the eBay Shops home 
page. eBay.co.uk checks the items as you list them in the standard eBay cate- 
gory format. For example, if you have six books listed in the Books: Fiction 
and Non-fiction category and five items in the Cameras & Photo category, 
you'll be in the listings for both of those categories. Your custom shop cate- 
gories (read on) will be used to classify items only in your shop. 

If you use one of eBay's prefab graphics, people buying things at your eBay 
shop will know that you aren't serious enough about your business to design 
a simple and basic logo. We've had many years of experience in advertising 
and marketing, and we must tell you that a custom look beats clip art any 
day. Your shop is special - put forth the effort to make it shine. 

If you have a graphics program, design a graphic with your shop's name. 
Start with something simple; you can always change your design later when 
you have more time. Save the image as a GIF or a JPG, and upload it to the 
site where you host your images (your own Web site, your ISP, or a hosting 
service). Jump ahead to Chapter 8 for help choosing a hosting service. 

Many talented graphic artists make their living selling custom Web graphics 
on eBay.co.uk. If you aren't comfortable designing, search eBay for web 
banner or banner design. Graphic banners on eBay sell for about £10 to S20 - 
certainly worth the price in the time you'll save. 



Improving \lour Offering 



You can customise your shop at any time by clicking links in the Shop Design 
area of the Manage My Shop box, which is at the bottom of your shop's page 
and in the upper right-hand corner of the eBay Shop's hub page. The page 
shown in Figure 5-6 appears, with headings describing important tasks for 
your shop. 



Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually / / / 



Figure 5-6: 

You can 

perform 

all the 

necessary 

tasks for 

running a 

shop here. 




Mmvje My Show 






SI>o | > Design 

Display Se'i i-iqs 

,7-hi in ^".^ ;^li''ll-:r 

F'rr-mo ii"r -■--:■.■■■;■■ 



''!■"/' M.iil-:eiiini 
Listing h -^ ■:■•■>.■' 
Email Iv l-;- 1 
PffiEJfiJl ■.■.'■ ■ 
*. t ,i I : ,■ - 



Keywurds 
Listing Feeds 
HTML Builder 



Re p oris 

Traffic Reports 
Sales Reports 



Rehired Links 

v iew My Shop 

Sri'Jfr HulldaV S-;I!IM^ 

My eBay Selling 
- -. ■ ■. 



Manage My Shop: Summary 




Shop Usage Information: Cool StiriTI 


View rn- Shoo 


Subscription level: Basic 


Upgrade 


Active listings: 


Manaoe 


Email marketing: No Sulisciiheis 


View 





Shop Recommendations: Cool Stuff 1 

Learn riowto get more Irom your Shop, visit me Shups li liorfn^l i- .i ■ Huii 



What's New 
Pmniotioii.il Flyers 

Sellers can now create their own Promotional Flyers to promote their eBay Shop and the items they are selling! 

We have Templates to make it easy for yciu in creais professional Icokiricj "ye.r-.. with rici HTML knowleiJijt neces: 
Promotional Flyer is free and available to all eBay Shop sellers. 

Ideas for using your Promotional Flyers: 

* Insert tlyeri in all yuur shipments to buyers \c entourage- thorn to ?hop with you again 
1 Di^trit'Ute flyers tu f rit!nJs and family 



Shop design and marketing 

In the Shop Design and Marketing list, you can perform the major tasks 
required for your store: 

is" Display Settings: You can go to Display Settings (the shop set-up area) 
to change the name of your shop or the theme of your pages. You can 
also change the way your items are displayed: Gallery view (as in Figure 
5-7) or list view (as in Figure 5-8). Neither view is inherently better, but 
we like the gallery view because it shows the thumbnails of your items. 

You can also select the order in which your items will sort, for example 
Highest priced first, Lowest priced first, Items ending first, or Newly 
listed first. Choosing Ending first as your sort is a good idea, so that 
buyers can get the chance to swoop in on items closing soon. 

v* Custom pages: Most successful eBay sellers have a shop policies page - 
Figure 5-9 shows you an example. When you set up a policies page, 
eBay.co.uk supplies you with a choice of layouts. Go to Custom Pages 
and click the Create New Page link to see the template that you want to 
use, as shown in Figure 5-10. Don't freak out if you don't know HTML, 
eBay helps you out with an easy-to-use HTML generator (as in the Sell 
Your Item form - see Chapter 3). 



112 P art ' : Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



Figure 5-7: 

An 

eBay.co.uk 

shop in 

gallery view. 



i > Marsha Coll 



> Fabulous Finds > All Categories 



Add ho Mu Favorite Stores 



'Fabulous 
Finds 




5S 



Marsha Collier's Fabulous Finds 



Maintained by: rnarsha c \ 2605 ■# ) Tfc'ESFw "** 3 

I'm the author of the Dummies series of books on eBay, including 
"eBay for Dummies" & "Starting an eBay Business for Dummies." In 
my store you'll find lots of items to help you sell on eBay, take great 
pictures, and absolutely fabulous gifts during holiday seasons! 



Marsha Collier's 
Fabulous Finds Search 



28 items found in All Categories View: All Items | Buy It Now only | Auction only 

Sort by items: ending first | newly listed | lowest priced | highest priced 



|7 in titles & descriptio 



Search 



Store home 

■ Seller's Tools reo) 

■ Girly Things ra 

■ Fun Stuff [5-j- 

■ Fancy Food ni 



■ Hide Gallery Yjew 

■ View ending times 

(EndsPDT) 



NEW eBay Bargain Shopping 
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Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually / #3 



Figure 5-9: 

Example 

eBay.co.uk 

shop 

policies 

page. 



Fabulous 
Finds 



- 




Marsha Collier's Fabulous Finds 



Maintained by: marsh a_c ( 2805 if ) TEE™ •■ *" 

I'm the author of the Dummies series of books on eBay, including 
"eBay for Dummies" & "Starting an eBay Business for Dummies " In 
my store you'll find lots of items to help you sell on eBay, take great 
pictures, and absolutely fabulous gifts during holiday seasons! 



Marsha Collier's 
Fabulous Finds Search 



pi in titles & de 

Search I 



Store home 

■ Seller's Tools am 

■ Girly Things C4i 

■ Fun Stuff rei 

■ Fancy Food f.-n 



■ Sloie Policies 

■ About the Seller 



Terms and Conditions 

Payment and shipment terms 
may vary on individual items. 



Additional Store Information 



Payment 
methods 



PayPal l^JH ■[WES 
Money Order/Cashiers Check 
All credit Card payments are graciously 
accepted through PayPal only. 



Store ship-to the United States only 



locations 



Shipping & 
Handling 
Sales tax 



Please email if you'd like an item shipped out of 
the US. I will try to accomodate your needs. For 
United States shipments, we use Priority Mail. 
THANK YOU! 
Buysi Pays Shipping 



8 25% if shipped to CA 

Resale numbers accepted please email after 

auction. 
Customer All items are guaranteed to be exactly as stated 

service & in the auction description. 

return policy 



Aside from many fun items, I try to sell items for eBay sellers: 
items that will help them run Their business more efficiently! 



Create Custom Page: Select Layout 



Figure 5-10: 

eBay Shop 

page 

customising 

templates. 



1 Select layout 2 Provide cor 



The layout will be used in the content, area of your custom page. A layout can have trie following elements: 

Pn imnkm Bex A custornisable display that you car, use for a variety of purposes, such as highlighting featured items, announcing offers, or providing 

alternative ways for members to browse your Shop. Learn more about tion boxes . 

Item Showcase An item display that enables you to highlight items you're selling, use it to draw attention to special items or to show buyers a typical sample 

from your Shop. Learn more about the its showcase . 

Text Secthm A section in which you can entei either plain text or HTML. If you dent know HTML, you can easily format your text (such as choosing a font 

and colour) using eBay'stext editor. You car; also place picture links directly into your tax! using eBay's Picture Manager. 
Item List An item display that enables you to show a larger set of items. The items will he selected automatically based on search criteria you specify 

(such as keywords or a price range). Whenever an item ends, it is replaced immediately with anothei item that meets the criteria. Learn more 

about the item list . 
Piotme Phoement A section in which you can place a picture. Lei eBay hesi your pictures or use your own web hosting service. Attract more buyers by making 

your pictures ciickable. 



Layouts 




7 # U, Parti: GettingSeriousAbouteBay.co.uk 



Following are some important policies to include: 

• Indicate to what locations you ship. 

• State your customer service and return policy. Fill in the informa- 
tion regarding how you handle refunds, exchanges, and so on. If 
you're a member of SquareTrade (see Chapter 4), mention here 
that you subscribe to its policies. Also include whatever additional 
shop information you think is pertinent. 

You can also set up a custom home page for your shop, but doing so is 
not a popular option. Letting your visitors go straight to the page listing 
what you're selling is a better idea, don't you think? 

v* Custom categories: You really make your shop your own here. You may 
name up to 19 custom categories that relate to the items you sell for 
your shop. 

v* Custom listing header: The custom listing header display is one of the 
best tools you can use to bring people into your shop - so use it! Click 
the link and select the option to show your custom listing header on all 
your eBay auctions and fixed-price sales. Doing so encourages shoppers 
to visit your eBay shop when they browse your eBay listings. 

When customising, include your shop logo as well as a shop search box. 
In Figure 5-11, you can see how the shop header looks at the top of an 
eBay listing. 



Figure 5-11: 

Super 
promotion 
on your 
auctions: 
Add a link 
to your 
eBay.co.uk 
shop and 
the capa- 
bility to 
search the 
shop. 



Description < 



Marsha Collier's Fabulous Finds 




Waste Cs&as 

Fabulous 

Finds 




Visit my eBay Store: Se<.uch my eBay Stoie 

*■ Marsha Collier's Fabulous Finds 



Seller's Tools | Fun Stuff 



Search 



buissujy 



BONDED 

Financial Protection to $10,000 

buySAFE with The Hartford 

Verify 



iBa/UserlD: 
narsha_c 



SquaraTrade Verified Selkr 
CNtkto Learn More 



Juii. 16. 2004 



NEW! True Color Diamond Grading Quality 
Light 



Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually / / y 



Creating an About the Seller page 



If you haven't already created an eBay.co.uk 
About Me page, do so now! The About Me page 
becomes the About the Seller page in your 
shop. This page is a primary tool for promoting 



sales. (See Chapter 3 for more on About Me 
pages.) You can put your About the Seller page 
together in aboutten minutes with eBay's handy 
and easy-to-use templates! 



Managing yow items 



We assume you've listed items on eBay.co.uk, so we won't bore you with a 
tutorial on how to list your items here (although we do give you some listing 
and photo image tips in Chapter 11). Following are the main differences 
between listing an item in your shop and listing an auction on eBay.co.uk: 



v* You have to assign your item to one of the prescribed shop categories 
that you designated while setting up your shop. If your new item falls 
into a category that you haven't defined, you can always go back to your 
shop and add a category (as many as 19) or put it in the eBay-generated 
Other Items category. 

v* You don't place a minimum bid or a reserve price on your shop items 
because everything you list in your eBay shop is a Buy It Now item. 

j-" Listings in an eBay shop can be put up for sale for 30 or 90 days, or GTC 
(Good 'Til Cancelled). The listing fees are shown in Table 5-2. Finally, you 
can buy something for 5p! 



Table 5-2 


Shop Inventory 


Insertion 


(Listing 


Fees 


Duration 


Insertion Fee 


Surcharge 


Total 


30 days 


£0.05 


N/A 




£0.05 


90 days 


£0.05 


£0.10 




£0.15 


Good 'Til Cancelled 


£0.05/30 days 


N/A 




£0.05/ 30 days 







The items you list in your eBay.co.uk shop will not appear in the regular eBay 
site title search. Your items will be seen if one of your buyers does a Seller or 
Shops search from the eBay.co.uk search page, which is why you pay only 5p 
per listing for 30 days. You must put a link in your auctions to your eBay shop 



116 



Part I: Getting Serious About eBay.co.uk 



(see the next section) - and tell the auction browsers that you have more 
stuff for them that they 'can't find in a regular eBay search'. 



Promotions 



eBay.co.uk has added some excellent ways to promote your shop. As an eBay 
shop owner, you have access to promotional tools that other sellers can't 
use. The most valuable of these tools is cross promotions - using it is free, 
too! The cross-promotion box appears after a buyer places a bid on or pur- 
chases an item from an eBay seller. 

The beauty of having a shop is that the cross-promotion box appears twice: 
Once with your regular listings and again with a different assortment of items 
(if you want), after someone buys an item. Best of all you get to select which 
items are shown with your individual auctions. 

Figure 5-12 shows you a cross-promotion box that appears when someone 
views an auction. 



Figure 5-12: 

A cross 

promotion 

in an 

eBay.co.uk 

auction. 



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Postage, payment details and return policy 

Services -available 

Check item description and |jayn/isni irsnuciioris <v contaci seller for details 

Will post to United Kingdom 



Seller's payment insti notions 

PLEASE CALL US Oh! (01303)252115 IF YOU HAVE NO! RECEIVED YOUR GOODS WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS OF MAKING YOUR PAYMENT We try to 
di-:nsti:h all orders -v.i-tl-.ii-. 2 workin« Day- i.ik' ,-hfic|ij.?s PAYABLE TC. CHAUCER COVERS Use credit card [0130312521 15. OH PAYPAL u--.:-r id 
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Payment methods accepted 

^This seller, golfizusonline, prefers P.iyP.il 



You can set up the promotions so that they default to show other items from 
related shop categories, or you can go in and set them up yourself for individ- 
ual auctions. Again, every listing has two sets of options: One for when a user 
views your listings, and the other for when someone bids or wins your item. 



Chapter 5: Opening a Shop, Virtually / / / 



Marketing \lour Wares 



eBay.co.uk has more tempting options that you can use to spruce up your 
shop items. These options work exactly like the ones eBay offers for your 
auctions (see Chapter 10). When choosing whether to use these options, 
remember that your eBay shop items only appear when someone searches in 
the eBay shops. eBay shop items don't appear in a regular eBay search, so 
the Gallery option may be the most beneficial option at this time. Check out 
Table 5-3 for a rundown of optional feature fees. 



Table 5-3 


eBay Optional Shop 


Features 


eBay Picture Services Fees 


Feature 


30 days 


90 days 


Good Til Cancelled 
(recurring 30-day listing) 


First picture 


Free 


Free 


Free 


Each additional picture 


£0.12 


£0.12 


£0.12/30 days 


Supersize image 


£0.60 


£0.60 


£0.60/30 days 


Picture Show 


£0.15 


£0.30 


£0.15/30 days 


Picture Pack 


£0.90 


£0.90 


£0.90/30 days 


Listing Upgrade Fees 


Feature 


30 days 


90 days 


Good 'Til Cancelled 
(recurring 30-day listing) 


Gallery 


£0.05 


£0.05 


£0.05/30 days 


Item subtitle 


£0.35 


£0.35 


£0.35/30 days 


Listing designer 


£0.07 


£0.07 


£0.07/30 days 


Bold 


£0.05 


£1.50 


£0.05/30 days 


Highlight 


£2.50 


£2.50 


£2.50/30 days 


Featured in search 


£9.95 


£14.95 


£9.95/30 days 


Scheduled listings 


£0.06 


£0.06 


£0.06/30 days 



/ Jo Parti: GettingSeriousAbouteBay.co.uk 



eBay.co.uk Shops Versus Auctions 



From the buyer's point of view, shopping at an eBay.co.uk shop is different to 
winning an auction. eBay shops feature fixed-price sales; the buyer gets the 
merchandise as soon as you can ship it (instead of waiting for the auction to 
run its course). Even though your auctions show up on your shop's home 
page, all regular listings in your eBay shop are Buy It Now items. 

When a buyer makes a purchase from your eBay shop, this is what happens: 

1. The buyer clicks the Buy It Now button on the listing page. The Review 
Payments page appears, where the buyer can review the purchase. This 
page contains the shipping amount that you specified when you listed 
the item. 

2. The buyer provides shipping information (required). When eBay noti- 
fies you that a sale has been made, you have all the information you 
need. You don't have to scurry around looking for the return address on 
the envelope when the payment arrives. 

3. The buyer reviews the transaction and then clicks the Confirm button. 

The information about the sale is e-mailed to you, and the buyer 
receives confirmation of the sale. 

Your eBay shop can be an essential back-up to your auctions. You can use 
your shop to sell out-of-season items, accessories for the items you sell 
actively, and even consignment items between re-listings. Considering the 
price of an eBay shop, you only need to make a few sales per month to pay 
for it - and when your sales start to build, your efforts will be greatly 
rewarded! 



Part II 



Setting Up Shop 




^TUeve's beev\ c\ i*vlsf «nke Were. — we ovAeveA 

12 ¥i\\s v\of 12 fov\s o-P s<n1mov\ -CVoi*\ 

■PlsU<nfUov*\€.co.iAV." 



In this part . . . 



w/ our hobby is what you love, and I'm betting you have 
&~ a household of duplicate items - the perfect stuff to 
sell on eBay.co.uk! Or why not buy from other collectors 
locally and become a specialist on eBay.co.uk? Or perhaps 
you'd like to sell inventory from an existing business or 
from others on consignment. Or maybe you want to start 
buying wholesale merchandise like the bog boys. 

As you can see, the options are endless. In this part, we 
talk about how to find merchandise to sell, the best way 
to sell it, and your ever-important Web site. 



Chapter 6 

Stocking Your Shop 



In This Chapter 

Prowling pound shops and cruising car boot sales 

Researching going-out-of-business sales, auctions, and resale shops 

Finding freebies and selling salvage 

Selling by consignment 



\M ou're probably wondering just how you can possibly get enough mer- 
&~ chandise to list as many as twenty items a day. But you're going to have 
to if you want to keep up with top eBay.co.uk PowerSellers! Maybe you're 
thinking that there aren't possibly enough sources out there to fulfil that kind 
of volume? Success on eBay isn't easy. Many hours and a good deal of perspi- 
ration - along with loads of inspiration - are necessary to make a good living 
selling online. You can see your profits soar - if you apply the same amount 
of effort in acquiring merchandise. 

One of my mottoes is 'Buy off-season, sell on-season'. You can get great bar- 
gains on winter merchandise in the heat of summer. January's a great time to 
stock up on Christmas decorations, cashmere jumpers, too! In the winter, you 
can get great deals on end-of-line summer sports merchandise. Using this 
stocking-up tactic is all in the timing. 

How are you going to acquire the products you need? We've spent hours, 
days, weeks, okay, even months trying to work out the best ways to stock an 
eBay.co.uk business. Ultimately, your stocking strategy depends on you, your 
personality, and the type of merchandise you plan to sell. We've tried many of 
the tactics that we discuss in this chapter, as have other eBay sellerswe know, 
so here we pass on all the secrets and caveats that each of us discovered 
along the way 




722 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



Somcinq on a Budget 



Pound shops come in all shapes and sizes. These places can be filled with tat 
or treasure, and a practised eye is needed to separate the wheat from the 
chaff. Try going in to a pound shop with a teenager, and see whether he or 
she reacts to any of the items for sale. Sometimes only one in five visits 
works out, but you'll know when you see the item - and at these prices you 
can afford to buy loads! Stock at these shops doesn't stay on the shelf for 
long; if you pass on an item, it may not be there when you return for it the 
next day. Maybe another savvy eBay.co.uk seller grabbed the bargain. 



Pomdstretcher 




Probably the most successful 'budget business' is Poundstretcher. These 
shops are now common sights on high streets up and down the country and fly 
in the face of the theory that people nowadays have more sophisticated tastes 
and are only interested in branded products. Go to www . pounds tretcher . 
co . uk to find your nearest outlet. 

The bulk of the items sold at pound shops are closeouts or special opportu- 
nity buys. When a company changes its labels, for example, it might sell all 
remaining stock with the old labels to pound shops. We've found some prof- 
itable books, Olympics memorabilia, and pop culture items at shops like 
these. The market for budget goods is expanding rapidly, so keep your eyes 
open for a pound shop opening near you. Otherwise, pull out the phone book 
(or bother the 118 operators) and see what you can find. 

Pound shop warehouses can sell direct to a retailer (that's you!). Find out 
where the distribution warehouse is for your local pound shop chain and 
make contact. Being nice can go a long way here. Befriend the office or ware- 
house manager, who may then call you when merchandise that matches your 
speciality comes in. 



The Trader 



The Trader is a UK magazine that essentially lists every type of wholesale 
business you can think of. The Trader provides you with phone numbers and 
Web sites so you can check out stock or book a visit. Going straight to a 
wholesaler may seem daunting, but some allow you to buy small amounts of 
stock early on - especially if they think you'll come back again. 



Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop / J* J 



Many wholesalers listed in The Trader offer crates of merchandise for a flat 
fee or sell you ranges of items (say jeans in every conceivable size). Some 
wholesalers let you pick and choose your items. 



Cash & Carry 



Cash & Carry stores take the 'stack 'em high sell 'em cheap' motto to its nat- 
ural conclusion. Lots of different Cash & Carry businesses exist, including 
Peggy Sue, CR, and Bestway, but in general these places are big warehouses 
full of industrial-size containers of stuff for you to buy and sell on. 

Be careful what you buy in Cash & Carry stores. eBay.co.uk restricts the sale 
of some food and drink items (see Chapter 3) so you don't want to end up 
with a job lot of something you're not allowed to sell! 



Car Boot Sates 



Car boot sales are a Mecca for bargain hunters because you get great items 
on the cheap. The trick at these events is to differentiate between things that 
will sell and things that are cheap tat. But remember: An item that one person 
thinks is worth SI, another may be prepared to spend S5 on. 

Finding a car boot sale in your area is probably easy - they happen all over 
the place! Many car boot sales are advertised in your newspaper, online, and 
in brochures published by local clubs and societies. After you find one, make 
sure you turn up early to hoover up the best items. Also, be sure to take 
plenty of small change because traders are often reluctant to break S20 (or 
larger) notes. 

When an item catches your eye, haggle over the price. Bargaining is expected 
at car boot sales, and while some people drive a hard bargain, they won't 
turn you away just because your opening offer was too low. 



Costco 



Marsha is a big Costco fan: One day she was wheeling her cart around Costco 
and right in front of her was a huge display with women jumping and grab- 
bing at the merchandise. She glanced above to read the sign: Fendi Baugette 
Handbags $199.99. Marsha and her daughter elbowed their way (in not too 



121} Part II: Setting Up Shop 



ladylike fashion) through the crowd and saw the regularly $450 priced 
purses, stacked like they were bin bags. In those days, the Baugette was new 
and sold on eBay for around $350. Needless to say, they bought all that their 
credit cards could handle. 

In the first edition of this book, Marsha talked about a special on the Costco 
Web site (you can find the UK version by logging on towww.costco.co.uk), 
for a new Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs DVD. For $18.49, you could pre- 
order the Snow White DVD and get a second Disney DVD for free. When 
there's an offer like this, you can sell two items on eBay.co.uk for the price of 
one. If she had bought a case of this deal and held some for future sales, 
she'd be in the money today. It seems that Disney movies are released for a 
limited time only. Now, that original DVD set sells on eBay for around $40. 




When an item is new but has some collectability, we suggest you buy in bulk, 
sell some of the item off to make up your investment, and save the balance 
for later. This has paid off for us a good many times with Disney films, 
Barbies, and Andy Warhol dinnerware. 



Garage Sates 



While these are a bigger deal in the US than in the UK, garage sales neverthe- 
less provide fertile ground for bargain hunters. Buy your local newspaper or 
check its classified ads online (just search on Google for the name of your 
local newspaper), and print maps of the sale locations from StreetMap or 
Yahoo! If you know the neighbourhoods, make a route from one sale to the 
next that makes sense. 

Neighbours often take advantage of an advertised sale and put out some stuff 
of their own. Bring a friend; you can cover more ground faster if two of you 
are attacking the sales. 

A few tips on shopping at garage sales: 



e* Fancier neighbourhoods have better stuff than poor or middle class 
ones. We know that sounds unfair, but rich people's cast offs are better 
than ours. 

v* Look for sales that say 'Early Birds Welcome' and make them the first on 
your list so you can get them out of the way. Some sales start as early as 
7 am, so get up early if you want the best bargains! 

J-" Keep an eye out for 'moving to a smaller house' sales. These sales are 
usually held by people who have brought up their children, accumulated 



Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop 



125 







a houseful of stuff (collectables? old toys? designer vintage clothes?), 
and want to shed it all so that they can retire to a bungalow in 
Bournemouth. 

Any toys people are selling while downsizing are usually good ones. 

p" Sales that feature 'kids' items and toys' are generally held by young cou- 
ples (with young children) who are trying to raise money or are moving. 
More often than not, these people are keeping the good stuff and are 
simply shedding the excess. 




Going-Out-of '-Business Sates 

Going-out-of-business sales can be a bonanza, but be careful and don't be 
misled. Find out whether the business is really going out of business and not 
just trying to tempt more customers. Some shop ads may read 'Going Out for 
Business' or some similar play on words, so make sure that you're going to 
the real thing. When a retailer is liquidating its stock, you get the best buys. A 
retailer often runs the sale week by week, offering bigger discounts as time 
goes by. If a company is really going out of business, don't be afraid to make a 
manager an offer on a larger quantity of items. 

A chain of children's wear went out of business a while ago. This chain also 
carried a smattering of popular dolls. A seller we know made an offer for all 
the remaining dolls and subsequently purchased them at a great price. 
Throughout the following year, this seller then sold the dolls on eBay.co.uk 
for three to four times what she had paid. 



Auctions 



Two types of auctions where you can pick up bargains are liquidation and 
estate auctions. (We also discuss charity auctions, where you may be able 
to find bargains while donating to a good cause.) You can find perfectly 
saleable and profitable items in all types of auctions, but each type has its 
idiosyncrasies. 

Before you go to any auction, double-check payment terms and find out 
whether you must bring cash or can pay by credit card. Also, before you bid 
on anything, find out the hammer fee, or buyer's premium. These fees are a 
percentage that auction houses add to the winner's bids; the buyer has the 
responsibility of paying these fees. 



126 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



Have you seen this spam headline before? 



'Make Hundreds of thouSands in profits by 
reselling items from Government auctions!' Yes, 
we've received this spam too. You send some- 
one money, and they let you in on the big 
'secret'. 

And the secret is: You can find out about many 
government auctions at these sites: 

i^ www.governmentauctionsuk.co. 
ukt.This site provides news and informa- 
tion about government auctions around the 
UK. It specialises in auctions featuring 
items from local councils. You can sign up 
to receive a newsletter that gives you the 
dates of the auctions. 

*<" www.ganews.co.uk: An online resource 
of news and guides helping you to 
approach government auctions the right 
way. Subscribers also receive a regular 
newsletter. 

t^ www.government-auctions.co.uk: 

This site bills itself as the 'most compre- 
hensive auctions resource in the UK' and 
tells you where to find auctions involving 
goods seized by Her Majesty's Revenue and 



Customs (HMRC), the Police, bailiffs, and 
the Courts. 

i^ www.edisposals.com/: The website 
of the Disposal Services Agency, which 
gets rid of equipment for the Ministry of 
Defence. Don't worry, you can't buy any- 
thing that goes bang here, but there are 
interesting vehicles and gadgets - even 
ships! 

I* www.bumblebeeauctions.co.uk: 

This official site of UK Police property dis- 
posal features live auctions of items includ- 
ing watches, electrical equipment, toys, and 
jewellery. 

i^ www.dvla-som.co.uk/home/en/ 
Auction: At prestigious locations around 
the UK, the DVLA holds around seven auc- 
tions a year featuring the more distinctive 
and appealing car number plates. 

For other sites, search online for government 
auction, seized property, tax sales and confis- 
cated property. Remember, if you're asked for 
paymentto getthe information, the site is prob- 
ably not official. 



Liquidation auctions 

When a company gets into serious financial trouble, its debtors (the people 
to whom the company owes money) obtain a court order to liquidate the 
company to pay the bills. The liquidated company then sells its stock, fix- 
tures, and even buildings and land. Items can sell for next to nothing, and you 
can easily resell many of them on eBay.co.uk. A special kind of auctioneer 
handles these auctions. Get on the mailing lists of auctioneers so you always 
know when something good comes up for sale. 



Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop / £ / 



Charity auctions 

We're sure you've been to your share of silent auctions for charity. A school 
or an organisation gets everyone from major corporations to the local gift 
shop to donate items. The items are then auctioned off to the highest bidder, 
sometimes in a silent bidding format. 

You can find many a great item at charity auctions. Aside from new merchan- 
dise, collectors may feel good about donating some collection overflow to a 
charity. Our friend purchased the keystone of her Star Trek action figure col- 
lection at a charity auction: The very rare tri-fold Borg (one of perhaps only 
50 in existence). This figure has sold as high as 5500 on eBay.co.uk, and our 
friend paid just S35, all while donating to a charity. 

At charity shops, such as Oxfam and the Red Cross, you sometimes uncover 
treasure while other times you find only junk. Befriend the manager who 
sees the merchandise as it comes in, knows just what you're looking for 
(because you said so in a friendly conversation), and can call you before the 
items hit the shelves. This type of relationship can save you from making 
fruitless trips. 



Freebies 




Freebies come in all shapes and sizes and - best of all - they're free, of 
course. Freebies are usually samples or promotion pieces that companies 
give away to introduce a new product, service, or media event. Even carefully 
trimmed ads from magazines can fetch high prices from collectors. 

When you go to the cosmetic counter and buy a way-too-expensive item, 
ask for tester-sized samples. Cosmetic and perfume samples of high-priced 
brands sell very well on eBay.co.uk. Also, look for gift with purchase deals. If 
the free gift is a speciality item, you can usually sell it on its own to someone 
who'd like to try a sample rather than plunge headlong into a large purchase. 
Less special items can be grouped together as lots. Make sure you put the 
brand names in the title. 

Fast food giveaways, especially models connected with films or popular car- 
toons, can be as popular as old corgi toys. The bigger the film, the more col- 
lectable the related toy, so start buying up those Happy Meals and Bargain 
Buckets! 



128 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



When Return of the Jedi was re-released in the US in 1997, the first 100 people 
to enter each cinema got a Special Edition Luke Skywalker figure. These fig- 
ures are still highly prized by collectors, especially since the latest Star Wars 
trilogy was released. 

In 1995, Paramount network premiered a new show, Star Trek Voyager. In 
selected markets, Paramount sent a promotional microwave popcorn packet 
as a Sunday newspaper insert. These packets are still selling well (when you 
can find them), although the value rises and falls according to current inter- 
est in Star Trek. 

Before you pass by a freebie, reconsider its possible future resale value. 



Saltfaqe: Liquidation Items, Unclaimed 
Freight, and Returns 

Salvage merchandise is retail merchandise that has been returned, 
exchanged, or shelf-pulled (see below) for some reason. Generally, this mer- 
chandise is sold as-is and where-is and may be in new condition. To buy this 
merchandise, you must be prepared to pay the shipping to your location. 

Available all over the country, the liquidation business has been a well-kept 
secret for years. As long as you have space to store salvage merchandise and 
a way to sell it, you can acquire it for as low as lOp in the pound. When we 
say you need storage space, we mean lots of space. To buy this type of mer- 
chandise at bottom-of-the-barrel prices, you must be willing to accept lorry- 
loads of merchandise at a time. If you have access to the more than 10,000 
square feet of warehouse that you need to unpack and process this amount 
of merchandise, you're in business. 

Several types of salvage merchandise are available: 

u* Unclaimed freight: When a trucking company delivers merchandise, a 
manifest (a document containing the contents of the shipment) accom- 
panies the freight. If, for some reason, a portion of the shipment arrives 
incomplete, contains the wrong items, or is damaged, the entireship- 
ment may be refused by the merchant. The trucking company is now 
stuck with as much as a lorry-load of freight. The original seller may not 
want to pay the freight charges to return the merchandise to his or her 
warehouse (or accept blame for an incorrect shipment), and so the 
freight becomes the trucker's problem. The trucking companies arrive at 
agreements with liquidators to buy this freight in the various areas that 



Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop 



129 




the liquidators serve. This way, truckers are never far from a location 
where they can dump, er, drop off merchandise. 

p" Returns: Did you know that after you buy something and decide that 
you don't want it and return it to the shop or mail-order company, it is 
not usually sold as new again? The merchandise is often sent to a liq- 
uidator who agrees in advance to pay a flat percentage for goods. The 
liquidator must move the merchandise to someone else. All major 
retailers liquidate returns, and much of this merchandise ends up on 
eBay.co.uk. 

If you're handy at repairing electronics or computers, you can do very 
well with a specialised lot. You may easily be able to revitalise damaged 
merchandise, often using parts from two unsaleable items to come up 
with one that you can sell in like-new working condition. 

p" Liquidations: Similar to the liquidation auctions that we mention in a 
previous section on auctions, these liquidators buy liquidation merchan- 
dise by the lorry-load and sell it in smaller lots. The merchandise comes 
from financially stressed or bankrupt companies that need to raise cash 
quickly. 

v* Seasonal overstocks: Remember our motto, 'Buy off-season, sell on- 
season'? At the end of the season, a shop may find its shelves over- 
loaded with seasonal merchandise (such as bikinis in August) that it 
must get rid of to make room for the autumn and winter stock. These 
brand-new items become salvage merchandise because they're seasonal 
overstocks. 

v* Shelf-pulls: Have you ever passed up one item in the shop for the one 
behind it in the display because its box was in better condition? 
Sometimes the plastic bubblewrap or the package is dented, and you'd 
rather have a pristine one. That box you just passed up may be destined 
to become a shelf-pull. The item inside may be in perfect condition, but 
it's cosmetically unsaleable in the retail store environment. 



We scoured the Internet and found loads of liquidators. The following are 
some sites that stood out and offered a wide variety of deals: 

www. wesco-wholesale . co .uk 



www . drakus . com 

www. gemdiscounts . co .uk 

www.uk- wholesaler . co .uk 

www . xcataloguewarehouse . co . uk 



130 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



Drop shipping to your customers 



Some middlemen, wholesalers, and liquida- 
tors specialise in selling to online auctioneers 
through a drop-ship service. Some crafty eBay. 
co.uk sellers make lots of money selling lists of 
drop-shipping sources to eBay sellers - we 
hope not to you. Dealing with a drop shipper 
means that you don't ever have to take posses- 
sion of (or pay for) the merchandise. You're 
given a photo and, after you sell the item, you 
give the vendor the address of the buyer. They 
charge your credit card for the item plus ship- 
ping, and they ship the item to your customer 
for you. 

This way of doing business costs you more and 
lowers your profits. If you're in business, your 
goal is to make as much money as you can. 



Because the drop shipper is in business too, 
they'll mark up the merchandise they sell to you 
(and the shipping cost) so they can make their 
profit. 

Be careful when using a drop shipper. Ask for 
references. See whether loads of sellers are 
selling the same merchandise on eBay - and 
not getting any bites. Also, what happens if the 
drop shipper runs out of an item that you've just 
sold? You can't just say 'oops' to your buyer 
without getting some nasty feedback. Your 
online reputation is at stake. If you find a solid 
source and believe in the product, order a quan- 
tity and have it shipped to your door. Don't pay 
for someone else's mark-up for the privilege of 
shipping to your customers. 




Be careful before signing up for a newsletter on some of these sites - your 
spam woes may grow to massive proportions. To preserve your privacy, sign 
up for a free Yahoo! or Hotmail account and use it for these types of promo- 
tional offers. 

A proportion of liquidation items, unclaimed freight, and returns may not be 
saleable for the reasons that we discuss in the rest of this section. Although 
you can acquire many gems that stand to bring you profit, you may also be 
left with a varying percentage of useless items. Read on carefully. 



Items by the pallet 



Some suppliers take the risk and purchase salvaged merchandise by the 
lorry-load. These suppliers then break up each lorry-load and sell the mer- 
chandise to you a pallet at a time. You can probably find some local liquida- 
tors who offer this service, or you can go online to find one. The rub in this 
scenario is: finding the right person to buy from. 



^\NG/ 




As in any business, you can find both good-guy liquidators and bad-guy liq- 
uidators. The world is full of e-mail scammers and multi-level marketers who 
are in business to take your money. No one trying to sell you merchandise 
can possibly guarantee that you'll make money, so beware of liquidators who 



Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop 



131 



*JHBE* 




offer this kind of promise - we don't care who they are or what they say 
Carefully research whomever you choose to buy from. Use an Internet search 
engine and search for the words salvage, liquidation, and pallet merchandise. 

Some liquidation sellers sell their merchandise in the same condition that it 
ships in to their location, so what you get is a lucky dip. You may lose money 
on some items while making your money back on others. Other sellers who 
charge a bit more will remove less desirable merchandise from the pallets. 
Some may even make up deluxe pallets with better quality merchandise. 
These loads cost more, but if they're filled with the type of merchandise that 
you're interested in selling, you'll probably write better descriptions and sub- 
sequently do a better job selling them. 

Getting a pallet of merchandise shipped to you can be very expensive, so 
finding a source for your liquidation merchandise that's close to your base of 
operations is a good idea. Notice that many liquidation sites have several 
warehouses, which translates to lower shipping costs for the buyer. (They 
can then also accept merchandise from places close to the various ware- 
houses.) You may see FOB (freight on board) and a city name listed, which 
means that when you buy the merchandise, you own it in the city listed. 
You're responsible for whatever it costs to ship the merchandise to your 
door. Search around; you may have to go through many sources before you 
find the right supplier of liquidation merchandise for you. 

When you find a source from which you want to buy merchandise by the 
pallet, check out a few things before spending your hard-earned cash: 



u>* Do they sell mostly to flea marketers (you may not want that kind of 
merchandise because you're looking for quality at a low price) or close- 
out shops (more retail-orientated)? 

v* Did you get a reply within 24 hours after calling or e-mailing? 

J-" Does anyone you speak to appear to care about what you want to sell? 

j-" Are the available lots within your budget? 

k" Are the lots general or have they been sorted to include only the type of 
merchandise that you want to sell? 

v* How long has this liquidator been in business and where does its mer- 
chandise come from? 

J-" Does the source guarantee that you will make money or that you can 
make money by buying the right merchandise? Remember: No one can 
guarantee that you'll make money. 

p" Does the supplier offer on its Web site references that you can contact 
to find out some usable information on this seller's items and the per- 
centage of unsaleable goods in a box or pallet? 

p" Is a hard sell involved? Or is it a matter-of-fact deal? 



/32 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



J»NG/ 




Before you are dazzled by a low price on a lot and click the Buy It Now button, 
check the shipping cost. Many so-called wholesalers lure you in with bargain- 
basement prices, only to charge you three times the normal shipping costs. 
Do your homework before you buy! 



Job tots 



*JABE* 




Manufacturers often have to get rid of merchandise, too. Perhaps a particular 
manufacturer made five million nodding-head dogs and then sold only four 
million to retailers. This manufacturer has to quickly unload this merchan- 
dise (known as job lots) so that it can have the cash to invest in next season's 
array of items. Job lots often consist of hundreds or thousands of a single 
item. Make sure you enjoy what you're selling because you'll be looking at 
the stuff for a while. 

Remember supply and demand - don't ever flood the eBay.co.uk market. 
Doing so makes your item valueless. 

Many Web sites specialise in job lots, but you have to visit them often 
because the deals are constantly changing. One worth checking out is Misco, 
shown in Figure 6-1. Visit this site at www. misco . co . uk. 



Figure 6-1: 

www. 

misco. co. 

ukhas 

regularly 

updated 

lots of 

liquidation 

merchandise. 



/MISCO 



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Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop 



133 



Wholesale Merchandise by the Case 

If you want to buy direct from a manufacturer, you can. Unfortunately, manu- 
facturers often have a monetary minimum for the amount of your order, which 
may be more than you want to spend (and you'd get more of a particular item 
than you'd ever want at once). To remedy that, see whether you can find some 
independent retailers who buy in quantity and who perhaps will let you in on 
some quantity buys with manufacturers. 

Sometimes the liquidators that we discuss in the preceding section get cases 
of perfectly saleable goods in their loads. Pallets break up into many cases, 
and liquidators will often sell these cases individually on eBay.co.uk. What a 
great way to acquire goods for your eBay business. 




Resale hems on eBay.co.uk 



We'll keep this eBay.co.uk buying technique short and sweet: Use the magic 
search engine! But be careful; many a get-rich-quick schemer uses boldface key- 
words in their auctions to attract your attention. Look only for good quality 
merchandise to resell. Remember that the only way to make a living on eBay is 
to sell quality items to happy customers so that they come back and buy from 
you again. Search eBay.co.uk auction titles for the following keywords: resale, 
resell, "case of", "case quantity", "lot of", "pallet of" (see Figure 6-2), closeout, 
and surplus. Be sure to use the quotes anywhere that we include them here 
because doing so forces the search engine to find the words in the exact order 
you write them inside the quotes. Alternatively, you can just go to the Wholesale & 
Job Lots section on eBay.co.uk at wholesale . ebay .co.uk (see Figure 6-3). 





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734 Part ll: Setting Up Shop 



Figure 6-3: 

The 

Wholesales 

Job Lots 

page on 

eBay.co.uk. 



Wholesale & Job Lots 



| Wholesale a Job Lots ^} Search | 

.iteijoii.es with in Wlio.les.1le ft Job Lefts 



flnli<|iies | Ait 

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Baby 

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Software 

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Dolls & Bears 

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DVDs 

Videoa. VHS/PALfUKl 

Health & Beauty 

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Bath room 



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Beads 

Costume Jewellery 

Ethnic Sl Tribal Jewellery 

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eBay.co.uk has set up wholesale subcategories for almost every type of item. 
You can find the wholesale items in the category list on the left-hand side of 
the page after performing a search, or just go to the eBay home page, scroll 
down the list of categories, and click Wholesale & Job Lots. Doing so takes 
you to the Wholesale hub page, as shown in Figure 6-3. Just click the category 
of your choice to find some great deals. 



Consignment Setting 



Consignment sales are the up-and-coming way for you to help newcomers by 
selling their items on eBayco.uk. Lots of sellers do consignment sales, and 
several retail locations base their business on this. You take property of the 
item from the owner and sell it on eBay. You're responsible for taking photos 
and marketing the auction on eBay - for a fee. In addition to the money you 
earn selling on consignment, you also get excellent experience for future auc- 
tions of your own merchandise. 

To set up your business for consignment sales, follow a few guidelines: 



1. Design a consignment agreement (a contract), and send it to the owners 
of the merchandise before they send you their items. Doing so ensures 
that all policies are set up in advance and that no questions will arise 
after the transaction has begun. 



Chapter 6: Stocking Your Shop 



135 



Becoming an eBay.co.uk Trading Assistant 



After you have 50 feedbacks under your belt 
on eBay.co.uk(and have sold at leastfour items 
in the past 30 days), you can become a regis- 
tered eBay.co.uk Trading Assistant. Checkout 

tradingassistant . ebay . co . uk/ws/ 
eBaylSAPI . dll?TradingAssistant& 
page=main 



eBay.co.uk publishes a directory of consignment 
sellers that you can search by telephone area 
code, postcode, or country. Check out whom in 
your area is a registered Trading Assistant. Read 
these consignment sellers' terms and fees. 
Consignment sellers charge varied amounts 
based on their geographic location (some areas 
can bear higherfees than others). 



Trading Assistant Directory 



Find an Assistant 
Basic Search 

■ How It Works 
FAQs 

For Trading Assistants 

■ Create/Edit Your 
Profile 

■ Getting Started 
FAQs 
Toolkit 



Find a Trading Assistant 

Enter your Postcode to find a Trading Assistant near you. To find someone who specializes in 
particular items or services, select an item category or use the "Advanced Search" link. 



I need help selling: 

| Please choose one T | 



Show only Trading AssisT.ints who o-ft-e-i These services: 

r A Staffed drop-off location 
T A Pick-up service 

Search I Advanced Search 



Let an Experienced eBay Membei Sell Yom Items for You 



RelaTed Links 



Find the Right Sniff 

Look for an item of value 
that's likely to sell on eBay 
See a list of suggested 



Find the right Trading Assistant 

Search for, contact, and hire a 
Trading Assistant who best meets 
your needs. Drop off your item or 
have it picked up. 



<jet |>.iM 

If your item sells, receive 
money based on the final 



2. Have the owners sign and send the agreement to you (the consignor) 
along with the item. 

3. Research the item based on past sales so that you can give the owners 
an estimated price range of what the item may sell for on eBay. 

4. Photograph the item carefully (see Chapter 11 for some hints) and write 
a thoughtful, selling description. 

5. Handle all e-mail inquiries as though the item were your own; after all, 
your fee is generally based on a percentage of the final sale. 



130 Part II: Setting Up Shop 




What do you charge for all your work? We can't give you a stock answer for 
that question. Many sellers charge a flat fee for photographing, listing, and 
shipping that ranges from £5-510, plus as much as a 30 per cent commission 
on the final auction total (to absorb eBay fees). Other sellers base their fees 
solely on the final sale amount and charge on a sliding scale, beginning at 50 
per cent of the total sale, less eBay and payment service fees. You need to 
decide how much you think you can make on an item. 

Traditional auction houses handle consignment sales in a similar fashion. 

When you reach the next level of your eBay enterprise and are looking to 
spend some serious money on your merchandise, check out eBay Timesaving 
Techniques For Dummies by Marsha Collier (Wiley). That book delves into the 
type of wholesale-buying secrets normally reserved for the big-time retailers. 



Chapter 7 

Knowing Your Merchandise 



In This Chapter 

Searching eBay.co.uk for comparative pricing 
Finding publications in your area of interest 
Using online appraisal services 
Authenticating your merchandise 



1 

■ f you don't know what your item is worth, you may not get the highest 

«£ price in any market. If you don't know how to make your item easy to find, 
it may not be noticed by even the hardiest of collectors. If you don't know the 
facts or what to say, your well-written title and detailed description (com- 
bined with a fabulous picture) may still not be enough to get the highest 
price for your item. 

Knowing your item is a crucial part of successful selling at eBay.co.uk, which 
is why we suggest in Chapter 1 that you specialise in a small group of items 
so that you can stay on top of ever-changing trends. An item may be 
appraised or listed in a book for a high value, but what you care about is the 
price at which the item will actually sell. Imagine someone uncovering a 
hoard of your item and, not knowing the value of it, dumping loads on eBay 
with low Buy It Now prices. This scenario would drive down the value of the 
item within a couple of weeks. 

The values of collectables go up and down. Star Wars items are a perfect 
example; values skyrocketed during the release of Episodes I to III a few years 
back, but now prices have settled to a considerably lower level. A published 
book of value listings is valid only for the moment the book is written. If you 
stay on top of your market in a few specialities, you'll be aware of these 
market fluctuations. 

You no doubt will purchase the occasional gem and will want to make the 
most money possible, so in this chapter we examine the different ways you 
can find out just how much something is worth. We start with the easiest and 
most accurate method and work up to the most laborious. We hope you can 
get your answer the easy way. 




13& Part ll: Setting Up Shop 

Benchmarking eBay.co.uk Rivals 





The best tool for evaluating your items is right under your nose. The 
eBay.co.uk search tool is the best and quickest link to finding your pricing 
information. To see how items like yours have been selling, search the com- 
pleted auctions. You can also search these results to see in which categories 
to list your item and at what time of day the high bidders for your type of 
item jumped in and won. 

Every type of item has a different type of bidder - which makes sense. Would 
a person searching for collectable dolls have the same shopping habits as a 
coin collector? Probably not; coins tend to be more expensive than collec- 
table dolls. Although generalities can be dangerous, profiling your item's 
buyer is worthwhile. After you check out the completed auctions for items 
like yours, the buying patterns of shoppers in different categories can 
become amazingly clear. After you arm yourself with this knowledge, you'll 
know not only how much your items should go for but also the best time to 
end your auctions. 

If you're selling a common item, check to see how many other sellers are sell- 
ing the same item - and when their auctions close. Nothing can kill your prof- 
its like being the second or third auction closing with the same piece of 
merchandise. Space your auctions apart from the others to avoid the law of 
supply and demand kicking in - and kicking you in the wallet. 

Make sure you know how to use the search system. Almost every eBay page 
has a small box for searching. Initially you may find going to the search page 
easier, but if you know the search engine syntax, or shorthand, you can pin- 
point your items with amazing accuracy. 

Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of the eBay search 
engine: 

v* The search engine isn't case sensitive, so you don't have to worry about 
using capitalisation in your search. 

v* To find more needles in the haystack, select the Search Titles and 
Descriptions option. 

(^ To find historical pricing (what the item has sold for in the past), check 
the box to search Completed listings as well as current. 

J-" If you're looking for a popular item, don't search only auction titles and 
descriptions; search by category, too. For example, suppose that you're 
searching for a Winnie the Pooh baby outfit. Type Pooh outfit and you get 
loads of results. Look to the left of the page, and see the category that 
more closely matches your search. In Figure 7-1, the matching category 
is Baby. Click the link below for the Baby Clothes subcategory. Now you 
can see the search results in the appropriate category. 



Chapter 7: Knowing Your Merchandise 1 jy 



Figure 7-1: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

search 

results 

with the 

Matching 

Categories 

refinement 

box. 













oFavo 


rite Searches 
jstomise DisQIav 


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e* Don't use conjunctions (or, and) or articles (a, an, the) in your search; 
the search engine may misconstrue these noise words as part of your 
search. Some sellers use the ampersand (&) in place of the word and, so 
if you include and in your search, you don't find auctions that use the 
ampersand. In addition, some sellers, due to the 55-character limit, may 
not place the in their title; the same goes for a, or, and and. 



Advanced searching commands 

If you need to pinpoint a particular item or just want to weed out bogus 
responses, try the following advanced search methods. You can use these 
shortcuts in any of eBayco.uk's search windows. 

If you're searching for items with two or more keywords, type in the key- 
words with a space between them. 

Example search: Wedgwood cups blue 

Returns: Items with all three words in the title in any order 

If you're searching for items containing words in a particular order, place 
quotation marks around the group of words. 

Example search: "Gone With the Wind" 

Returns: Items with titles containing Gone With the Wind, but not those 
just containing wind, gone or Gone With Wind 



11)0 Part II: Setting Up Shop 




If you're searching for items that don't contain a certain word, place a minus 
sign (actually a hyphen) before the word to be excluded. 

Example search: bib overalls -baby 

Returns: Items with titles containing the words bib and overalls but not 
containing the word baby 

If you're searching for items that don't contain several words, place a minus 
sign (again, a hyphen) before the list of words separated by commas (with no 
spaces) and put in parentheses. 

Example search: Wedgwood -(black,green, purple) 

Returns: Items with titles containing the word Wedgwood but not con- 
taining black, green or purple 

If you're searching for items where one word or another is present, type the 
keywords in parentheses separated by commas. (No space after the commas.) 

Example search: (Wedgwood, Lenox) 

Returns: Items whose titles contain either the word Wedgwood or Lenox 

If you're searching for items that contain words starting with a particular 
sequence of letters, type in the letter sequence followed by an asterisk. 

Example search: chin* buddh* 

Returns: Items whose titles contain words starting with 'Chin', such as 
China, Chinese, Chinois, Chinook, and chintz, as well as words starting 
with 'Buddh', including Buddha, Buddhas, Buddhist, Buddhism 

If you're searching for items containing a particular word in addition to an 
advanced search command, use a plus sign (+) before the required word. 

Example search: (Wedgwood, Lenox) +cup 

Returns: Items whose titles contain cup and either Wedgwood or Lenox 

Now that you know how to finesse the search engine, head to the search page 
and see if you can work some magic. 

If you have the item number, you can type or paste it into any of the eBay 
search boxes to get to that item. 



Chapter 7: Knowing Your Merchandise / [l / 



Using eBayxoMk Advanced Search 

By clicking on the Advanced Search link under the search box that appears 
on most pages, you can access eBayco.uk's advanced search options. With 
the advanced search, you can narrow your search to check out the competi- 
tion (who's selling items similar to yours). In the basic search, you also have 
a few options: 

v* View results: You can choose whether you want to see a mini gallery of 
photos. Although this may not ordinarily help when you're doing 
research, information is key; you may just see a variation of the item in 
photos that you didn't know about. 

v* Search in categories: You can narrow your search to one of the 29 major 
categories at eBay.co.uk. If your product is made for men, women, or 
children, you may get more efficient results by looking in the category 
that applies directly to your item. Strangely, when searching for a ladies 
watch, we found the following synonyms and abbreviations for ladies: 
lady's, ladys, Ids, and femmes. 

»* Completed listings only: Check this box to go directly to completed list- 
ings for your item research. 

J-" Sort by: You can find items by auctions that end first (default), newly 
listed items first, lowest prices first, or highest prices first. You can also 
search for items by seller, bidder, shop, and member. 

When you click the Advanced Search link below the previously described 
options, you can narrow your search even further: 

j-" Payment: You can isolate your search to only those sellers who accept 
PayPal. Utilising this search option may enlighten you as to whether 
buyers of this product pay higher prices if they have the option to pay 
with credit cards. (Although the PayPal exclusion does not include other 
methods of credit card payments, it still speaks strongly for credit card 
users.) 

J-" Locate items near you: If you're selling something big that you can't (or 
don't want to) ship, you need to deliver it or get the buyer to pick it up. 
This option allows you to check out the competition only in your closest 
major metropolitan eBay trading area. 

j-" Multiple item listings: This option allows you to search by quantity or lot. 

So how can you search completed auctions to find bidding patterns on items 
like yours? Follow the instructions below to dig out all the details you need. 



1 1}2 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



Perform a search on the item for which you want information on the Search: 
Find items page. When the results appear (see Figure 7-2), you see how many 
other sellers are selling your same item. That way you can determine whether 
now is the right time to sell. (If all active auctions for your items have high 
bids, now is the time to sell - but don't list your auction to end at a similar 
time as another one.) 

To dig into the details for historic pricing, also perform the completed items 
search from the advanced search options page: 

1. Click the link on the basic Search page to expand the advanced 
options. 

2. Click the Completed listings only option box near the top. 

3. To sort by price, go to the Sort By drop down menu at the bottom of 
the page and click the highest prices first option. 

4. Click Search. 

The results of completed auctions of your particular item for the last 14 
days appear sorted by highest prices first (see Figure 7-3). Pull out your 
calendar and make note of what days your item landed the highest bids. 
More often than not, you find that a pattern appears. Your item may see 
more action on Sunday or Monday or Thursday or whenever. 



Figure 7-2: 

Results 

of an 

investigatory 

search. 



1 


n 


BUKTA CLASSIC AUSTRALIA RUGBY SHIRT ■ MENS ■ 44" 

£.4 99 £2.75 
ENGLAND RUGBY HOME SHIRT SIZE M 

sflUfjMw- £14.99 £5.00 
AUCKLAND BLUES RUGBY SHIRT 2005-06 SIZE L 

Sglgffim £T2.9fl £6.50 
TOGGI RUGBV SHIRT Aubemirie/Graae small BNWT 

11 $iiM £3.40 
I v . . 1 '■. :-■ .1- -..- i" - . ■ - ■ - J ... z ■!'.. 

13 £13.49 £3.40 
ENGLAND RUGBY HOME SHIRT SIZE XL 

?S$H&V £14.99 £6.00 
1 ■ ■■:■!: . : , ■ ..-'■'■ ..: !■■■: :.•'■. :i: 

1 £10.00 £4.00 
Wales. Grand Slam 2005 Ruabv Shirt- Home - L- BNWT 

3 -£9.00 £5.95 

Fs'ait KeiVlrJTlir i-'v-.. :.:-J.. V : . :.. -:'.:■:■:.-■, ' . : . ■":.::■ >iin - 

1 £15.00 £4.00 
NEW- EX M+S SUPERB BOYS ENGLAND RUGBY SHIRT AGE9/10 

sftyttMm -C4.99 Nai s.pecfl 


17- J a 
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00.00 
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Chapter 7: Knowing Your Merchandise / uA 



Figure 7-3: 

The 

Completed 

Auctions 

search 

results, 

sorted by 

highest 

prices first. 



|jeans 

Rs&aich litis and JesqriptTan 

Matching C*t*d0iie$ 



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Baby 131 
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Buying Guides 

Health & Beauty 
Watches 



Seoich Options 

n [European Union -| 



97230 items found for jeans 

Show only Completed listings Show all 

List View | Picture Gallery 

Levi's RED TAB leans 1U5G9 DMA Laan 



Add !o FavuijiilL- Seair_-hr;s View .lvtiv* items for s 



Son foy: | End Date: recent first j^ 
3inJs Piich Pastinje Eml Dme t Actions 



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£40.00 £7.00 17-Jan 09:20 

"^ DIESEL" SAFETY PRESS" BELT BLACK "MONOGRAM JEANS BELTS 
^P 1 £3.33 £4.50 17-Jan 09:20 

m^^. Ladies diesel jeans 

fiH £2000 £5. DO 17-Jafi 09:19 

"NEW BLUE DENIM LADIES MISS SIXTY JEAN5 1Qy3QW" 



fl 



'■'i.;jri ££.50 , T j..r.09 i? 



River Island Sk in n, Jeans Mew With Tags 

5 $4.l\ £2. B0 17-Jan 09:17 

I S.TARK EMBROIDERED DESIGNER JEANS 5IZE S 

1 S$03 £2.95 17-Jan 09:1G 

US POLO JEANS FROM AMERICA 

D t3LJ[l £2.85 17.Jan 09:15 

JUNIOR J JEA N'? w ri- MONT HS DESIGNER BOvS E>; CONDITION 





L.s: =.. itsrr ik* this 




List an item Iks this 








Lilt an item ike this 




List an item ike this 




List an item ikethis 




-■ ■,. .v ik; this 



eBay also has a superior tool for checking your competitor's auctions. After a 
while, you can identify the sellers that frequently sell items similar to yours. 
Aside from keeping them in your favourite sellers list on your My eBay page 
(for more on that, see Chapter 3), the following is a way to see whether one of 
your competing sellers has an item like yours up for sale: 

1. Go to the Search area, and click the Items By Seller link on the left. 

2. Enter the seller's user ID in the box provided. 

To search the seller's completed listings, select the time frame in which 
you want to search. To search their current listings, just go to the 
bottom and click the Search button. 



Useful Publications 



So what if your item isn't for sale on eBay.co.uk and hasn't been for 30 days? 
The first thing you need to do is check out your local newsagent for one of 
the many publications devoted to collecting. Alternatively, do a search 
online: Searching for 'action figure collector' from Google brings up loads of 
interesting sites for you to research for more information on publications, 
dealers, and collecting trends. 



744 Part ll: Setting Up Shop 



Here's a list of some popular reference publications: 

J-" The Collector: One of the UK's best guides to antiques and general col- 
lectables. Published alternate months, principally listing specialist 
antiques dealers alphabetically by area and specialisation, this magazine 
is available online atwww.artefect.co.uk 

u* Classic Record Collector: Magazine dedicated to the (very) golden 
oldie music industry. Go online at www. classicrecordcollector . com 

p" Model Collector Magazine: From Dinky to Corgi, this publication has all 
the information you need about people who go crazy for models. Check 

out www. modeled lee tor . co . uk 

p" Stamp Magazine: Reporting on the world of philately since 1934, this 
publication is available online at www. stampmagazine .co.uk 

v* Dolls House World: A weekly magazine featuring news and features 
about dolls and miniatures and the people that collect them. Go online 

at www. dollshouseworld. com 



Online Sources of Information 



In this section, we give you a few more fun online sources where you may be 
able to get more insight about your items. 



Web sites 



Many Web sites devoted to different collectable areas list prices at recently 
completed auctions. These auctions are the best evaluation of an item's value 
because they're usually directed towards specialists in the specific collectable 
category. Most of the participants in these auctions really know their stuff. 

You may have to poke around the following Web sites to find the prices 
realised at auction, but after you do, you'll have the holy grail of estimated 
values. Look for links that point to auction archives. Many of these sites con- 
sign your item from you as well and sell it to their audience: 

e* Art Market intelligence: www. invaluable . com/ 

i^ Wholesale research: www. ukonlinewholesalers . com/ 

P Autographs: www. f rasersautographs . com 



Chapter 7: Knowing Your Merchandise / uf) 



is* Football gear: www.bidfootball .co.uk 

v* Technology: www. itseller . com 

v* Rock and roll memorabilia: www.rockvault .co.uk 

v* Sports memorabilia and cards: www.mullockmadeley . co . uk 



Online appraisals 




At first glance, online appraisals seem quite tempting. At second glance, 
though, you realise that unless the person doing the appraisal can actually 
see and feel the item, an accurate appraisal can't be performed. Also, you 
have no guarantee that the person at the other end is really an expert in the 
field that relates to your item. 

If you have an item of real value and worth appraising, get the item appraised 
in person. Most large cities have auction houses, and many of those auction 
houses have regular valuations of private items and collections (a way for 
auction houses to get merchandise for their future auctions). If you bring an 
item to the auction house, you aren't legally bound to have the house sell 
your item for you, but it may not be a bad idea. All you get is a free verbal 
appraisal; the auction house doesn't fill out any official paperwork, but at 
least you get an idea of what your item is worth. Real appraisals are expen- 
sive, are performed by licensed professionals, and come with a formal 
appraisal document. 



Authentication Services 



Some companies provide the service of authenticating (verifying that an item 
is the real deal) or authenticating and grading (determining a value based on 
the item's condition and legitimacy). To have these services performed on 
your items, you have to send them to the service and pay a fee. 

Following are a few excellent sites for grading coins: 

v* Robert Matthews Coin Authentication: 

www. coinauthentication. co .uk/ 

v* Chard coin valuing: www. 2 4carat .co.uk 
(^ Predecimal: www.predecimal . com 



1 1}6 Part II: Setting Up Shop 




Stamp collectors (or those who have just inherited a collection from 
grandpa) can get their stamps authenticated by the British Philatelic Trust. 
Visit www.ukphilately.org.uk for more information. 

You can find links to authentication discounts for eBay.co.uk users at 

pages . ebay . co . uk/ help /community/ auth-overview.html 

Loads of sports cards and sports memorabilia authentication services exist, 
but they're based outside the UK. If you got your autograph or memorabilia 
direct from the player or team, you can assure its authenticity. Having the 
item authenticated may or may not get you a higher price at eBay.co.uk. Try 
these sites: 

v* Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA): Offers eBay users a discount 

at www.psacard. com/cobrands/ submit . chtml?cobrandid=23 

J-" Sportscard Guarantee (SCG): Has an eBay discount on card authenticat- 
ing at www. scgcard. com/new/grading .html 

v* Online Authentics: Reviews autographs by scans online or by physical 
review. Look at its services at www. onlineauthentics . com 

The best way to find a good authenticator in your field is to search the items 
at eBay to see who is the most prominent authenticator listed in the descrip- 
tions. For example, note in the coins area that certain grading services' coins 
get higher bids than other services. You can also go to an Internet search 
engine (Google or Yahoo!) and type the keywords coin grading (for coins). 
You come up with a host of choices; use your common sense to see which 
one suits your needs. 

Remember that not all items need to be officially authenticated. Official 
authentication does add value to the item, but if you're an expert on your 
items, you can comfortably rate them on your own in your auctions. People 
will know from your description whether you're a specialist. Your feedback 
will also work for you by letting the prospective bidder or buyer know that 
your merchandise from past sales has been top-drawer. 



Chapter 8 

Establishing a Base: 
Your Web Site 



In This Chapter 

Finding free Web space 
Choosing a host 
Deciding on the perfect name 
Registering the perfect name 
Marketing your piece of the Web 



IX our eBay.co.uk shop is important to your business, but it doesn't replace 
f- an e-commerce Web site. Yes, eBay is an important site (duh) for your 
sales and store, but so is your own business Web site. You should establish 
your own presence on the Web. And although you can - and should - link 
your site to eBay.co.uk, don't miss out on the rest of the Internet population. 

You don't have a Web site yet? The space for a Web site comes free from your 
ISP. This site can be the practice site for your business so use it to post pic- 
tures of items you're selling. 

You do have a Web site? Have you taken a good look at it lately to see whether 
your information is up to date? Does your site link to your eBay auctions, eBay 
shop, and the gallery that we discuss in Chapter 5? 

Most small and medium businesses are increasing their online revenue. In 
spring 2004, Interland, one of the leading Web hosting providers, took a 
survey of some of their shared hosting customers to measure the barometer 
of online activities. They found that 63 per cent of respondents have five or 
fewer employees - does that sound like you? Figure 8-1 shows how important 
a Web site is to these companies' business. 



1 1}S Part ll: Setting Up Shop 



Figure 8-1: 

A revealing 

graph from 

Interland. 



An overwhelming majority of small business owners said online resources would be very or 
somewhat important for business success in the coming year. 



00 ^7 ^ n '' ne '^entity 

7 /■v/o lie. have a Web site. 



li.e. have a Web site, business e-mail! 



, Site interactivity 

li e WQli-tiasert nasfftats (inns, blags 
interactive maps and e-newsletters) 



. Online promotions 

lis. search engine optimization, 
keyword advertising and e-mail marketing) 



Online transactions 

I li.e e- commerce, online catalogs and 
m coupons and sailing via a third-party 
site like Amazon or eBay) 



\mt hKw/\ V'.'in ?lt<!i fcTii %,rc«> iv Mr kvulv 



Whether or not you have a Web site, this chapter has something for you. We 
provide a lot of detail about Web sites, from thinking up a name to choosing 
a host. If you don't have a site, we get you started on launching one. If you 
already have a site, we give you some pointers about finding the best host. 
For the serious-minded Web-based entrepreneur (that's you), we also include 
some ever-important marketing tips. 



Free Web Space - a Good Place to Start 

Although we love the word free, in real life nothing is really free. Free gener- 
ally means something doesn't cost you too much money - but may cost you a 
bit more in time. When your site is free, you aren't able to have your own 
direct URL (Universal Resource Locator) or domain name. Most likely, a free 
Web site has an address such as one of the following: 

www.netcom. com/~marshac 

home . socal . rr . com/marshac 

members . aol . com/ membemame 

Having some kind of site at least gives you the experience in setting one up. 
When you're ready to jump in for real, you can always use your free site as an 
extension of your main business site. 



Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site / [) ^ 



To access the Internet, you had to sign on with an Internet Service Provider 
(ISP), which means you more than likely already have your own Web space. 
Most ISPs allow you to have more than one e-mail address per account. Each 
e-mail address is entitled to a certain amount of free Web space. Through the 
use of hyperlinks (small pieces of HTML code that, when clicked, route the 
clicker from one place to another on the page or on other Web site), you can 
combine all the free Web space from each e-mail address into one giant Web 
site. Table 8-1 compares some popular ISPs. 



Table 8-1 


ISPs Who Give 


You Free Web Space 


ISP 


Number of E-Mail A d dresses 


Total Space per Account 


Freeola 


unlimited 




unlimited 


Abel Gratis 


1 




50MB 


Wanadoo 


1 




nine pages 


Freewire 


unlimited 




50MB 


Lycos 


50 




1000MB 


Yahoo! GeoCities* 


1 




15MB 




*Yahoo GeoCities isn't an ISP, but it is a reliable online community that gives each member online 
Web space. Membership is free. Extra megabyte space is available for purchase. 



Many ISPs have their own page-builder (HTML-generating) program that's 
free to their users. 

Poke around your ISP's home page for a Community or Your Web space 
link. For example, if you poke around Freeola ISP's home page (http : / / 
freeola . com/), you can find and click the Hosting link, which leads you to 
a page offering various options. You'll find a Free Website link, which takes 
you to a page that walks you through setting up your own home page. After 
agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, you can simply log on and set up your 
home page. Freeola comes highly recommended - especially for beginners - 
because it is reliable and easy to use. 

We highly recommend FrontPage, but if you want all its benefits, you need a 
site that uses FrontPage extensions (portions of the FrontPage program that 
reside on the server and enable all the HTML magic to happen automatically - 
and you don't have to write in the code). Save FrontPage extensions for hosted 
Web sites (the ones you pay for) when you have a good deal of allotted space. 
Installing Microsoft FrontPage extensions on a small Web site like the one that 
Road Runner provides takes up too many of your precious megabytes. (Yahoo!, 
however, has extensions installed for the GeoCities sites, and doesn't count 
them as part of your allotted megabyte count.) 



/ 50 Part ll: Setting Up Shop 




Why learn HTML when Web page editors 
can do it for you? 



If you need some help designing those first 
pages, try looking for inexpensive HTML Web 
software. There are basic templates and soft- 
ware packages currently being sold on 
eBay.co.ukfor under£5! Lots of Web page edi- 
tors are available; the key is to find one that 



includes a graphical (WYSIWYG, or what-you- 
see-is-what-you-get) interface that allows you 
to preview your pages as you design them. You 
can also use an older version of Microsoft 
FrontPage (without the extensions) to design 
simple Web pages. 




In lieu of getting involved in a huge (and expensive) program such as 
FrontPage, you may want to consider using a quick and easy HTML generator 
such as CuteHTML. If you're not looking to get extra fancy, this is the pro- 
gram for you. We often use CuteHTML to put together eBay auctions when 
using tables (to put pictures next to the text). You can download a free trial; 
the price to buy the program is only £14. You can find CuteHTML on the 
GlobalSCAPE Web site at 



www. globalscape . com 

If you find it offered, use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to upload your pages 
and images. You can still design pages in Microsoft FrontPage - just don't use 
the fancy features. If your ISP doesn't supply an FTP program for you, go to 
the following and download a free trial of CuteFTP: 

www. globalscape . com/o/912 

Cute FTP is a small, simple program that helps you get your pages and images 
to your site. Your first Web pages may be simple, and that's okay. You have to 
get used to having a Web site before you can really use it for commerce. Put 
up a home page that links to a few product-related pages and your eBay auc- 
tions and, voila, you're in business. If you're feeling more adventurous about 
your Web site, check out the next section, where we describe a handful of Web 
site hosts. 



Payinq (or \lour Web Space 



If you're on the Internet for any length of time, you may be bombarded by 
hosting offers through your daily spam. A Web hosting company houses your 
Web site code and electronically doles out your pages and images to Web 
page visitors. 



Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site I f} j 



&*!» 




If you take advantage of PayPal's free Pay Now buttons or Shopping Cart, you 
can turn a basic-level hosted site into a full-on e-commerce shop without 
paying additional fees to your hosting company. The PayPal tools are easily 
inserted into your pages with a snippet of code provided by PayPal. See infor- 
mation later in this chapter. 

Before deciding to spend good money on a Web hosting company, thoroughly 
check it out. Go to that company's site to find a list of features they offer. 
If you still have questions after perusing the Web site, look for a freefone 
number to call. You won't find any feedback ratings like you find on eBay, but 
the following are a few questions to ask (don't hang up until you're satisfied 
with the answers): 



v* How long have they been in business? Avoid a Web host that's been in 
business only a few months and operates out of a garage. Deal with a 
company that's been around the Internet for a while and, hence, knows 
what it's doing. Is the company's Web site professional looking? Does the 
company look like it has enough money to stay in business? You don't 
want it disappearing mysteriously with your money. 

v* Who are some of their other clients? Poke around to see whether you 
can find links to sites of other clients. Take a look at who else is doing 
business with them and analyse the sites. Visit several of their client 
sites. Do the pages and links come up quickly? Do all the images appear 
in a timely manner? Web sites that load quickly are a good sign. 

v* What is their downtime-to-uptime ratio? Does the Web host guarantee 
uptime (the span of time its servers stay operational without going down 
and denying access to your site)? Expecting a 99 per cent uptime guar- 
antee is not unreasonable; you're open for business - and your Web host 
needs to keep it that way. 

v* How much Web space do you get for your money? Most ISPs offer 
cheap web hosting packages and occasionally you'll come across those 
that offer it for free. Generally, you don't get much space with the latter - 
so be prepared to put your hand in your pocket if you require more 
than, say, 30MB of space. 

v* What's their data transfer limit? Data transfer is a measurement of the 
amount of bytes transferred from your site on the server to the Internet. 
Each hit transfers a certain amount of bytes (kilobytes, megabytes) from 
your host's servers to the viewer's computer. 

v* Do they offer no-charge technical support? When something goes 
wrong with your Web site, you need it fixed immediately. You must be 
able to reach technical support quickly without hanging around on the 
phone for hours. Does the Web host have a technical support area on its 
Web site where you can troubleshoot your own problems (even in the 
middle of the night)? 



/ 52 Part ll: Setting Up Shop 




Whenever you're deciding on any kind of provider for your business, 
take a moment to call their technical support team with a question 
about the services. Take note of how long you had to hold and how 
courteous the techs were. Before plunking down your hard-earned 
money be sure that the provider's customer service claims aren't 
merely that - just claims. 

j-" What's the policy on shopping carts? In time you're probably going to 
need a shopping cart interface on your site. Does your provider charge 
extra for that? If so, how much? In the beginning, a convenient and pro- 
fessional-looking way to sell items on your site is to set up a PayPal 
shopping cart or PayPal Pay Now buttons. When you're running your 
business full time, however, a shopping cart or a way to accept credit 
cards is a must. 

v* What kind of statistics do you get? Visitors who go to your Web site 
leave a bread-crumb trail. Your host collects these statistics, so you can 
know which are your most and least popular pages. You can know how 
long people linger on each page, where they come from, and what 
browsers they're using. How your host supplies these stats to you is 
important. One of the best reporting formats is provided from a com- 
pany called WebTrends (www. webtrends . com/worldwide). 

v* Are there any hidden fees? Are they charging exorbitant fees for set- 
up? Charging extra for statistics? Imposing high charges if your band- 
width suddenly increases? 

v* How often does the Web host back up your site? No matter how redun- 
dant a host's servers are, a disaster may strike and you need to know 
that your Web site won't vaporise. Redundancy is the safety net for your 
site. You may be interested in how many power back-ups a company has 
for the main system. Perhaps it has generators (more than one is good) 
and more. 




If you have a Web site you're probably always looking for other hosts that 
offer more pizzazz for your pound. Looking behind the glitzy promotional 
statements and finding out the facts behind each company takes time. Go to 
uk . tophosts . com/ and click the link to their current Top 25 Web hosts. 
You may want to also check out www.webhostdir.com/webhostawards. 
This company checks out Web hosting companies monthly. Take a look at 
who's listed and then go to check out the host's own Web site. 

There are literally hundreds of ISPs out there - far too many to list here - so 
make sure you put in some research. To help, Table 8-2 provides a compari- 
son of some host service costs. In the rest of this section, we go into greater 
detail about some further companies you might consider trying. . Make sure 
you check out these hosting companies' Web sites, however, to get the most 
current information. 



Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site / ^3 



ejMJE/? 




Table 8-2 


Compari 


ing Entry-I 


evel 


Hosting Costs 


Feature 


Fasthosts 


Hostway 




Netcetera 


NetPivotal 


Monthly plan cost 


£3.99 


£4,95 




£3 


£3.95 


Yearly discount rate 


None 


£49.50 




£30 


£39.50 


Disk space storage 


750MB 


150MB 




500MB 


2,000MB 


Data transfer/month 


Unlimited 


3GB 




1GB 


80GB 


24/7 cost-free tech 
support 


Yes 


Yes (e-mai 


I only) 


Yes 


Yes 


E-mail aliases 


Unlimited 


100 




30 


1,000 


FrontPage capability 


Yes 


Yes 




Yes 


Yes 



Keep in mind that 200MB disk storage space can host as many as 6000 HTML 
pages. 



UKFast.net 



UKFast.net (www.ukfast .net) is an industry favourite. As the winner of 
ISPA's Best Hosting Provider 2005 and Future's Best Business ISP 2004, it pro- 
vides complete dedicated hosting solutions that ensure your business is fast 
and efficient, with little or no downtime. UKFast.net currently operates four 
data centres (one in London and three in Manchester), providing managed 
server solutions as well as reseller packages and ADSL. Figure 8-2 shows 
UKFast. net's home page. 



bonhostxoMk 



Donhost's unique hosting platform, shown in Figure 8-3, was written in-house 
by their team of qualified and experienced specialists. This hosting platform 
is one of the fastest, most reliable, feature packed, and economical hosting 
solutions available. 



For smaller businesses, many companies offer shared hosting, which is proba- 
bly what you'll use for quite a while. With shared hosting, your site resides 
with others on a single server, sharing all resources. 



/ 5fy Part " : Settin 9 U P Sho P 



Figure 8-2: 

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Un metered Data Transfer 

Our range of dedicated servers now have no data 
transfer limits' There are no monthly quotas or 
excess charges and no speed restrictions 
either. You are free to u;e a; much 
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maintain your server, manage backup?, 
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root-level access to install any software you 
desire is included as standard. 



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anyone who needs to host multiple domains 
arid web sites on both Windows and UNIX/Linux 
servers. Set-up new sites and manage your 
accounts through our exclusive control panel and 
even rebrand the control panel for your 
clients. 



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Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site / f)J 




If your Internet sales gross more than a £100,000 a year, you may have to look 
into dedicated hosting, in which your site is on a server of its own and is man- 
aged by the technical experts at your hosting company. 

Hosting companies offer you many levels of entry. Beyond a basic do-it- 
yourself level, companies may also offer the services of their crack team of 
professional Web designers to help you get up and running. Having the assis- 
tance of a professional always helps when you're just staring out. 



What's in a Web Site Name: 
Naming \lour Baby 



*JHBE* 





What to name the baby, er, Web site? Choosing a Web site name is almost as 
much of a dilemma as deciding on your eBay user ID or eBay shop name. If you 
don't have an existing company name that you want to use, why not use the 
same name as your eBay shop? (Check out Chapter 5 for details about eBay 
shops.) Lock your name up now so that you can keep your brand forever. 

Name your site with a name that identifies what you do, what you sell, or who 
you are. And make sure you like the name you choose, because once its yours 
and you begin operating under it and establishing a reputation, it'll be with 
you 20 years from now when you're still selling online! 

A few Web sites offer wizards to help you decide your domain name. You can 
find a particularly intuitive one at: 

www . namesarecheap . com/wizard. shtml 

In a small, Web-based form, you input your primary business type and key- 
words that describe your business. The wizard then displays a large number 
of options and also lets you know whether the options are available - very 
convenient. 

Before you attempt to register a name, check it isn't anyone else's trademark. 
To search an updated list of registered trademarks, go to the following and 
use the electronic trademark search system: 

www . patent . gov . uk/ search 

After a search, you may want to trademark your site name. Again, www . 
patent . gov . uk is the online service that can help you with that. The site 
also offers online trademark applications. 



/ 50 Part " : Setting Up Shop 

Registering \lour Domain Name 
(Before Someone Else Takes It) 

Choosing a select registrar (the company that handles the registering of your 
site name) is as important as choosing the right Web host. Remember that 
the Internet is still a little like the wild west, and that Billy the Kid may be 
waiting to relieve you of your hard-earned cash. One of the ways to protect 
yourself is to understand how the registry works (knowledge is power), so 
read on. 

The early Internet - known as 'the Arpanet' - was established 30 years ago 
in the US. In the 1980s, a parallel UK system, the Joint Academic Network 
(JANET), was set up. Emerging Internet service providers became involved 
with the network in the 1990s, providing domain names in exchange for a 
fee. Soon the ISPs established a naming committee to vet all domain name 
applications. 

When the World Wide Web came into being in 1994, people started to grasp 
its moneymaking potential. Soon the committee became swamped with appli- 
cations for new domain names and the need for a professional registry was 
realised. Nominet was established as the official registrar for domain names 
ending in .uk in 1996. 

Before you decide on a registrar for your domain name, take a minute to see 
whether the registrar is accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for 
Assigned Names and Numbers - the international governing body for domain 
names) or is reselling for an official ICANN-accredited registrar. (Ask who 
they register with.) The Accredited Registrar Directory is updated constantly, 
so check the following for the most recent list: 

www. internic . com/regist .html 



Domain parking 



Suppose thatyou come up with a brilliant name register the three main domains (.com, 

for your site and you get really big and famous. . co . uk, and . net) and park them with your 

Then someone else uses your Web site name registrar. For example, www. ebay.net and 

but registers it as a .net - while yours is ebay org are registered to (guess who?) ebay. 

. co . uk . To avoid this situation, when you're com. You can check the owner of any domain 

ready to register your site, make sure you nameatanyoftheWebhostingorregistrarsites. 



Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site / y / 



Making your personal information private 



CANN requires every registrar to maintain a 
publicly accessible WHOIS database displaying 
all contact information for all domain names 
registered. Interested parties (or fraudsters) 
can find out the name, street address, e-mail 
address, and phone number of the owner of the 
site by running a whois search on the domain 
name. You can run a whois search by going to 
www. whois .net and typing in the domain 
name in question. 

This information can be very useful to spam- 
mers who spoof your e-mail address as their 
return address to cloak their identity, identity 



thieves, stalkers, and just about anyone up to no 
good. To see the difference between private and 
public registrations, run a whois search on these 
two Web sites: www.coolebaytools . 
com, and www. ebay . com. 

Good registrars should offer private registra- 
tion for no extra charge. In some cases you 
can simply decline to fill in certain private 
details when buying the domain. Check to see 
whether your registrar offers this service. For 
updated information on private registration, visit 
www. coolebaytools . com. 



For a comparison of registration fees, see Table 8-3. 



Table 8-3 


Compar 


ng Yearly 


Domain 


Name 


Registration Fees 


Registrar 




Registration Fee 




URL Forwarding 


easyspace.com 




£4.75 






Free 


netnames.co.uk 




£25.00 






Included 


lowcostnames.co.uk 


£7.50 






Free 


nominate.net 




£18 






Free 



cjABE/f 




You usually get a substantial discount from the more expensive registrars 
when you register your domain name for multiple years - a good idea if you 
plan on staying in business. Also, if you register your name through your 
hosting service, you may be able to cut the prices in Table 8-3 in half! The 
only drawback to doing so is that your prepaid registration may go out of the 
window if you choose to change hosting companies. 




If you're registering a new domain name but already have a site set up with 
your ISP, you need a feature called URL, or Web address, forwarding. URL for- 
warding directs any hits to your new domain name from your existing long 
URL address. Some registrars offer this service, but watch out for hidden sur- 
prises, such as a free offer of the service, which means they probably smack 



/ $$ Part II: Setting Up Shop 



a big fat banner at the bottom of your home page. Your registrar should also 
have some available tech support. Trying to troubleshoot DNS issues - don't 
worry, we don't understand what this means either - is a job for those who 
know what they're doing! Remember, sometimes you get what you pay for. 



Marketing \lour Web Site (More 
Visitors = More Business) 

You've set up your Web site - now let the world know about it. Having spent 
many years in the advertising business, we can spot businesses that want to 
fail. These businesses open their doors and expect the world to beat a path to 
them and make them rich. Unfortunately, this marketing plan doesn't work - 
ever. 

You must take an active approach to letting the world in on the goodies you 
have for sale. Getting your business known means spending a good deal of 
time promoting your site by running banner ads and getting your URL into a 
search engine. There are no shortcuts. 

Loads of people out there want to take your money for advertising your Web 
site. As with all transactions regarding your Web site, knowing who you're 
dealing with is key. If you want to run your banner on someone else's site, 
don't spend money; ask to do an exchange. The more advertising that you 
can get for free, the better. If you decide you want to pay for advertising, wait 
until after you make a profit selling merchandise from your site. 

A simple link to your Web site from your eBay.co.uk About Me page draws 
people to your site initially. You'll be pleasantly surprised. 



Banner ad exchanges 



The way banner ad exchange services work is simple. You design a banner 
ad in your graphics program to a designated size following certain standards 
(see the following list), and the service displays the banner on other sites. 
When Web surfers click your banner, they're taken to your site, where they see 
all the great stuff you have for sale. You can even target what type of sites you 
want your banner to appear on as well. Remember that this is an exchange. 
Someone else's banner appears on your pages in exchange for showing yours 
on other sites. 



Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site / ^^ 



Here are the standard specs for a banner ad: 

468 pixels wide by 60 pixels high 

GIF format (no JPEGs) 

Nontransparent 

File size less than 10K (10240 bytes) 

If animated, the animation stops at seven seconds and doesn't include 
loops 

Banner design 

If you think that designing an eye-catching banner ad (see Figure 8-4 below) 
is beyond your graphic talents, you'll be happy to know that many excellent 
graphic artists on the Internet can produce one for you. Type banner design 
into any search engine, and you come up with lots of listings. To find a designer 
who matches your needs, look at samples (and pricing) on their Web sites. 



Figure 8-4: 

An 

animated 

banner ad. 




CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE 

'eBay For Dummies 

AUTHORS "COOL EBAY TOOLS" PAGE! 





On eBay.co.uk, search for web banner or banner design. We found 77 listings 
of banner ad designers with reasonable prices; we're sure you can find one 
who meets your needs. 

Microsoft Banner Advertising 

Microsoft Banner Advertising is one of the largest and most effective net- 
works on the Net. They rotate your banner throughout their 70,000 sites and 
give you great stats on how often your banner is viewed, your page visits, 
and your clickthrough ratio (the number of times people click your banner 
and visit your site to the number of times your banner is displayed). Follow 
this link to find out more: www. microsoft . com/smallbusiness/online/ 
banner-advertising/detail .mspx 

Googte.co.uk Adviords 

While we're at it, if you're looking for cost-effective advertising, Google 
Adwords is a popular choice for online businesses. Your ads appear on web- 
sites that offer a complimentary service to your own and you only pay when 
someone clicks through to your shop. 



160 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



Getting yow URL into a search engine 

For people to find your site (and what you're selling), they must be able to 
locate you. Most people locate what they're looking for by searching with 
a search engine - so submit your site to search engines. Go to the search 
engines that interest you and look for a link or a help area that enables you 
to submit your site. Be sure to follow any specific instructions on the site; 
some may limit the amount of keywords and the characters allowed in your 
description. 

To submit your URL to search engines, a little work is necessary (nothing's 
easy, is it?). Write down 25-50 words or phrases that describe your Web site; 
these are your keywords. Now, using as many of the words you came up with, 
write a description of your site. With the remaining words, create a list of key- 
words, separating each word or short phrase by a comma. You can use these 
keywords to add meta tags to the header in your HTML document for your 
home page. Meta tags are identifiers used by search engine spiders, robots 
that troll the Internet looking for new sites to classify on search engines. Meta 
tags are used like this: 





If you have a problem coming up with keywords, check out Yahoo! GeoCities 
handy meta tag generator, which you can use for free: 

geocities .yahoo . com/ v/ res /meg. html 

Submit It! 

Submit It!, part of Microsoft's Small Business Center in the US, handles your 
site submissions to hundreds of online search engines automatically, saving 
you the trouble of going from site to site. This is perfect for those of you who 
plan to sell abroad, but not for those who plan to sell exclusively in the UK. 
For $49 (about S28) a year, the service submits as many as ten URLs as often 
as you like. Submit It! even sends you a regular report letting you know of 
progress. Your site will also be listed in the Microsoft Small Business Directory 
as part of your subscription. Using Submit It! is money well spent. 

Google 

Google crawls the Internet regularly with its spider, Googlebot, looking for 
new sites to index on Google Search. If Googlebot has missed your site, go 
to the following and let Google know that you're site is ready for listing: 



Chapter 8: Establishing a Base: Your Web Site / 1 



www. google . co .uk/addurl/?continue=/addurl 

Google doesn't guarantee that your site will be listed, but the process takes 
less than a minute so what could it hurt? 

llahoo.co.uk Search! 

Yahoo! is one of the more difficult sites to list with, although you can get a 
free listing if you fill out all the forms correctly and wait six to eight weeks. 
Instructions for the free listing are at the following: 

uk. search. yahoo . com/f reesubmit/submit 



162 Part II: Setting Up Shop 



Part III 

Serious Business! 




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In this part . . . 



J\J ow it's time to delve into the pounds and sense of 
# W your eBay.co.uk business. In this part we discuss 
automating your business by using online and offline 
tools, jazzing up your auctions, setting up your home 
photo studio, and handling shipping (the bane of most 
businesses). We also give you the lowdown on two other 
important aspects of your business: working with cus- 
tomers and collecting payments. 



Chapter 9 

Software Built for Online Auctions 



In This Chapter 

Figuring out what tasks you can automate 
Finding online auction management services 
Exploring auction management software 



7l low that eBay.co.uk has become a world marketplace, a single-page 
# w auction or item listing is an increasingly valuable piece of property. 
Thousands view your sale, and the more auctions and fixed-price items that 
you can list, the better your chance to make a good living. Time is money: 
You need to post your auctions quickly and accurately. 

Auction posting, record keeping, inventory cataloguing, photo managing, and 
statistic gathering are all tasks that you can automate. The more your busi- 
ness grows, the more confusing things can become. Automated tools can 
help you keep your business admin straight. But remember that the more 
tools you use, the more expense you may be adding to your business. Always 
keep your bottom line in mind when evaluating whether to use fee-based soft- 
ware and services. 

In this chapter, we discuss how to automate different tasks, software that you 
can use to automate, and Web sites that offer services to make your daily 
chores considerably more bearable. After you read this chapter, you'll be 
well-equipped to decide whether or not you want to automate your business. 

As luck would have it, many of the products and services that can help with 
your eBay.co.uk listing are only provided by companies across the pond in 
the US. We've checked that the products and services featured in this chap- 
ter will work for eBay.co.uk users. 

Even so, products change over time and it's best to lodge an enquiry with the 
software company before buying. Ask whether their stuff is compatible with 
your business. You might also like to check out Auction Software Review - a 
US Web site found at www. auctionsof twarereview. com. 



166 



Part III: Serious Business! 




Take the time to get in touch with any US company to find out whether their 
products or services will work for you in the UK before you purchase. 



Considering Tasks for Automation 

You have to perform certain office tasks, no matter how few or how many 
auctions you're running. Depending on your personal business style, you may 
want to automate any or all of the following tasks. You may choose to use a 
single program, a manual method, or some features from one program and 
some from others. If you aren't ready for the automated plunge, we offer 
alternatives. Where appropriate, we insert references guiding you to where in 
this book or on the Web you can find more information about the automated 
services we discuss. 



Setting up images for automatic 
FTP upload 

You have several ways to store the display images in your auctions. If you're 
using an auction management service or software (such as MarketWorks.com 
or Auction Wizard, both of which we discuss later in this chapter), an uploader 
is usually included as a part of the software. Many online services merely fetch 
the photos from your hard drive without the need for additional FTP software. 
To upload your photos, you use a screen similar to eBayco.uk's Sell Your Item 
Page, shown in Figure 9-1. 













w eBay Picture Services Your own Web hostina 
Let eBay host your pictures | Enter your picture URL 








Uparade to our free full-featured version 

It's faster, lets you upload pictures of any size, and enables you to preview 

Picture 1 (Free) 




Browse.. | 




To add pictures to your listing, click Browse. 
Picture 2 (10.15) 






Browse 


■ I 




Picture 3 (10.15) 






Browse 


■ I 












Figure 9-1: 

Uploading 
images from 


Browse 


■ I 


Pictures ($0.15) 




Browse 


I 


Picture 6 (10.15) 




your hard 


Browse 


J 


drive. 


Picture 7 (JO. 15) 






Browse 


■ 



Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions / \) / 



With this format, you merely click the Browse button to access the Open File 
window, and then find the location of the image on your hard drive. When 
you locate the images that you want to upload (one per line), click the 
Upload button and the images will be on their way to the service's servers. 

If you choose to keep images on your own Web site (which makes the images 
available for your Web site, too), you have to use some sort of FTP software. 
You probably aren't using close to the total space that your hosting service 
allots to you for your Web site, making for plenty of room to store a separate 
folder of eBay images. ISPs often also give you several megabytes of storage 
space (see Chapter 8). 

A straightforward, standalone FTP software program should be part of your 
auction arsenal, even if you use a service or other software. (We like to have 
a backup method.) Our personal favourite is CuteFTP from GlobalSCAPE, 
shown in Figure 9-2. 



Figure 9-2: 

CuteFTP 

Home 

Edition. 



Hi GlobalSCAPE - CuteFTP E.O - [My FTP Site 



HE 



File Edit View Tools Window Help 



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8 82 KB 
9.09 KB 
9.19 KB 
9.92 KB 
q qR kr 



Corel PHOT. 
Corel PHOT. 
Corel PHOT. 
Corel PHOT. 
Corel PHOT 
Corel PHOT. 
Corel PHOT. 
Corel PHOT. 
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Corel PHOT. 
Corel PHOT. 

rnrpl PHnT 



J 



Z 



ttj Item Name 



| Address | 



Name | Size | Type 



| Hodilied 



Size Progress 



■J_ 



For Help, press F1 



ftp-www.earthlink.net, object(s), byte- 



"I I [T 



CuteFTP is so simple to use, we've never read the instructions. To send files to 
a site, type the location and your username and password. Click Connect, and 
CuteFTP automatically connects to the site. From this point, you merely drag 
and drop to move a file from the screen on the left (your hard drive) to the 
screen on the right (your Web site). A 30-day free trial is downloadable from 



www. globalscape . com/o/912 
You can register the program for only US$39.95 - just over S20. 



168 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Setting up an auction photo gallery 

Until you establish your own eBay.co.uk shop, setting up an online photo 
gallery is a great alternative. If your customers have a high-speed connection, 
they can browse your auctions through photographs. Some auction manage- 
ment sites host your gallery. Some sites charge for this service; others do 
not. You can produce your own gallery without any fancy programs or auc- 
tion management software and at no additional cost. 

To make your own gallery on eBay without installing fancy scripts in your 
listings, you need to do three things. You must include eBay gallery photos 
with all your listings. (You're doing that anyway, aren't you?) Next, test the 
following URL in your browser, substituting your own user ID where indicated 
in bold italic: 

search-desc . ebay . co . uk/ search/ search. dll? 

Mf cISAPICommand=GetResult&query=youreBayuserID& 
ht=l&srchdesc=y&SortProperty=MetaEndSort&st=l 

Figure 9-3 shows you a sample of what you'll see. 



Figure 9-3: 

Astar- 

fancydress' 

homemade 

gallery 

linked page. 



Items for Sale by star-tancvdress | -1884 * ) t SSS" ( viihseiici'seBw sim. 

All Items ftiKlMis BUtf II Now 



r 8 „ 






MaTdiing Categories 
Clmlies. Siloes & 

£i.i ; i::-:. 'iiea [92] 
Fancy Dress (85) 
Women's Clothing f71 

Business. Office & 

InJtlstllal H21 
Retail &Shon Fitting n D1 
Offi'se Eouiomont & 
Supplies PI 

DVD. Film & TV m 
DVDs m 



Se.nch Options 
Location: 

I - Items within 
|£00 z\ 








milES Df |Pcstc 


i ii- 




Show only: 

r Items listed with P 


yPa 


r 


Buy It Now iter 


^B 




r 


Get 11 Fast it en 


S 




r 


Items listed as 


lots 




r 


Item condition 







JAII'-Jaierjar 



~V| Search 



105 items foi.'iid 
Show oniy. Herns fi 

LlsIVi&w | Picture Gallery 



Add to Favourite 



irstai-fniicydiess Show 



\, f |! ! ,:■. ! i'lm?. irrldi,-„n :=. j.Jf i^-sC J^_ ; ,.-; :.r- ■-.;: ....... 



i 

1 



Sombrero Hat! £2.99 £© 
U 99 - : *tM* 
Time Left: 3h 19m 



"STAR" BN 70s AiiLiq D am::! 
n Costume! £7.49 £C 



s Left: 1d07h25m 




'STAR' Br^nrJ New lin; ffe n.ji*H 
Female Blow Up Doll! £7.99 #0 

'J 99 ---.^rtiW 

Time Left: 1dQ7h26m 



f 



ji-Ai-i Li-j N Mea-jfi .. n Sombrero or 
\ ■ ■■-.,.■ ,:.-..^;.£9 ©0 
£i f-9 .i-ylttti* 
Time Left: 5h 04m 



"STAR" Brand New Bis.: : k i-i amom 
Won der Woman Style Wig! @© 
£7 99 ■■ ■:■'■■ 

Time Left: 1d07h25m 



1SIA, ill; l s ^_rivWAj.ii^^ ■: h 
!i ■-■■!.: v.o^isl e© 
£5 49 ^Butkfhw 
Time Left: 1dQ7h27m 



Now that you have seen a sample of your gallery, insert the following HTML 
into each auction to include a link to your gallery. 



Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions I Oy 



<a href=" search-desc.ebay.co.uk/search/search.dll? 

Mf cISAPICommand=GetResult&query=youreBayuserID& 
ht=l&srchdesc=y&SortProperty=MetaEndSort&st=l " > 
<B>Click <I>here</I> to view yourebayuserlD 
Gallery</B> <img 

src= "http: / /pics . ebay . couk/ aw/pics /ebay_my_butt 
on.gif" alt="My Gallery on eBay"x/a > 

As you can see in Figure 9-4, this HTML snippet also inserts the custom eBay 
button. 



Figure 9-4: 

A link 

from your 

auctions to 

your own 

gallery. 



Click here to view my Gallery 



Mil HE! 



Sorting auction e-mail 



A vital function of any auction software or system is the ability to customise 
and send e-mails to your winners. Many sellers use the default letters in these 
programs, which tend to be a bit - no, incredibly - impersonal and uncaring. 
(To see some examples of customer-friendly e-mails and tips on drafting your 
own, head to Chapter 12.) You need to decide whether you want the program 
to receive e-mail as well. 



Most computer-resident auction management programs have their own built- 
in e-mail software as part of the program. When you download your winner 
information from eBay.co.uk, the program automatically generates invoices 
and congratulatory e-mails. 

How to handle your auction-related e-mail is a personal choice. Although 
we currently use eBay's Selling Manager to send auction related e-mails, we 
receive auction e-mail through Outlook, using a separate folder titled Auctions 
that contains subfolders for eBay Buy and eBay Sell. 



170 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Automating end-of-auction e-mail 

If you want to set up e-mails to be sent automatically after an auction ends, 
you need to use a software application to do so. The software should down- 
load your final auction results, generate the e-mail, and let you preview the 
e-mail before sending it out. Many of the online sites that we discuss later in 
this chapter (see the section 'Online auction management sites') send out 
winner confirmation e-mails automatically when an auction is over; set your 
preferences to preview the e-mail before sending, if you want to use this 
option. 



Keeping inventory 



Many eBay.co.uk PowerSellers depend on the old clipboard or notebook 
method - crossing off items as they sell them. If that system works for you, 
great. Others prefer to use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of inventory. 

Most of the auction management packages that we detail later in this chapter 
(see the section 'Auction management software') can handle inventory for 
you. Some packages automatically deduct an item from inventory when you 
launch an auction. You have your choice of handling inventory directly on 
your computer or keeping your inventory online with a service that's accessi- 
ble from any computer, wherever you are. 

We handle our inventory on our desktop through QuickBooks. When we buy 
merchandise to sell and post the bill to QuickBooks, it automatically puts the 
merchandise into inventory. When we input our sale, QuickBooks deducts the 
items sold from the standing inventory. We can print a status report whenever 
we want to see how much merchandise we have left - or have to order. 



Generating HTML 



Fancy auctions are nice, but fancy doesn't make the item sell any better. 
Competitive pricing and low shipping rates work in your favour. Also, a clean 
listing with as many photos as necessary goes a long way to sell your prod- 
uct. Some software and services offer a large selection of templates to jazz 
up your auctions. But think of your customers - some of them are still logging 
on with dial-up connections, which are notoriously slow. The use of simple 
HTML doesn't slow the loading of your page, but the addition of miscella- 
neous images (decorative backgrounds and animations) definitely makes 
viewing your auction a chore for those dialling up. And forget the background 
music - it really slows things down! 



Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions / / / 



Don't fret; you can make do by repeatedly incorporating two or three simple 
HTML templates, cutting and pasting new text as necessary. Most auction 
management programs offer you several choices of template. Stick with a 
couple of templates that are similar, giving a standardised look to your list- 
ings, just the way major companies give a standardised look to their advertis- 
ing and identity. Your customers will get used to the look of your auctions 
and feel comfortable each time they open one. 

You can use CuteHTML to generate much of your code for auction descrip- 
tions. An important line of code that everyone seems to forget is the one that 
inserts a picture into your auction description. On the Sell Your Item page, 
click the tab to view in HTML mode, and insert the following line below 
where you'd like your image to appear in your description: 

<img src="http : // www. yourserver . co . uk/ijnasrename. jpg"> 

Make sure you substitute your own server and image name. If you want to 
put one picture on top of another, just type <P> between the lines of code - 
repeat the HTML line with a different image name for each image that you 
want to display. 

If you're in a rush and need a quick and easy HTML generator, go to www . 
coolebaytools . com and click Tools. eBay Timesaving Techniques For 
Dummies by Marsha Collier (Wiley) has sample HTML code for auction 
descriptions as well as a chart of all the code you'll ever need for an eBay 
auction. 



One-click re-listing and 
setting simitar items 




Using an auction software or service speeds up the process of posting or 
re-listing items. After you input your inventory into the software, posting or 
re-listing your auctions is a mouse click away. All the auction management 
software packages that we detail later in this chapter include this feature. 

If you buy your items in bulk, you may want to take advantage of eBayco.uk's 
free re-listing tool. By clicking the Sell Similar link on any successful listing, 
you can automatically re-list your items. Sell Similar starts the listing as new, 
so if the item doesn't sell you can avail yourself of the Re-list feature. This 
way, if the item sells the second time, your listing (insertion fees) for the first 
listing will be credited. 



172 



Part III: Serious Business! 




Although eBay says that Sell Similar is for re-listing items, it also works when 
listing a duplicate of an item that has sold successfully. The only difference is 
that you aren't credited for the unsold auction listing fee. 

You can use the eBay Sell Similar feature to post new auctions. You merely 
click the Sell Similar link, and then cut and paste your new information into 
the existing HTML format. That way, your auctions all have the same feel and 
flavour. 



Scheduling your listings for bulk upload 

If you want to schedule the unattended launch of your auctions without 
incurring eBayco.uk's fee, you need to use an online management service 
(check out the 'Online auction management site' section, later in this chap- 
ter). If you can be at your computer to send your auctions to eBay singly or 
in bulk, you can use the Turbo Lister application, which eBay offers at no 
charge. (For details, see the 'Turbo Lister' section, later in this chapter.) 



Researching your statistics 

So many questions exist when you're selling on eBay.co.uk. What is the best 
time to end my auction? What day should I start my listing? Is it better to run 
a five-day or a seven-day auction? Now an online service can help you sepa- 
rate the rumours from the facts. 

Lots of eBay experts out there give you hard-and-fast rules to guarantee suc- 
cess with your listings. These people's advice is a load of bunk. Every cate- 
gory and every type of item may draw shoppers at different times of the day 
and different days of the week. 

The best experts are those who are selling every day on eBay, day in and day 
out. These people are usually PowerSellers and do their own research for 
their listings. They don't have the time to spout off and give you secrets. 
We're regular sellers on eBay (we're PowerSellers too), and we've noticed 
distinct variations in our sales through a fantastic online service called 
ViewTracker from Sellathon. 

Sellathon tracks your listings using a small piece of code that you insert in your 
auctions. The site gives you loads of information about your visitors, without 
violating anyone's privacy. Here are some of the things you can find out: 



Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions / /j 



v* How many times someone has visited your auction 

J-" The date and time the visitor arrived at your auction and what city and 
country your visitor is from 

v* Whether the reserve price was met when the visitor arrived 

j-" When the item receives a bid (and how many bids have been placed up 
to that moment) 

v* Whether the visitor has chosen to watch this listing in his or her My 
eBay page 

j-" Whether the visitor browsed a category, searched a category, searched 
all of eBay, used eBay's Product Finder utility, came from 'See Seller's 
Other Items' or some other page and what category they were browsing 

v* If they were searching, what search terms they used to find your item 
and did they search Titles Only or Titles and Descriptions 

v* Whether the user elected to view Auctions Only, Buy it Now, or both 



You get all this information and more. Sellathon offers a 30-day free trial at 
www.sellathon.com. After that time period, the service is US$4.95 (about 
S2.80) a month or $49.00 (about £27.50) a year. 

To end an old wives' tale about what days your auctions get the highest hits, 
Figure 9-5 shows you a chart from a Sellathon account, showing how many 
visits 26 listings got each day. Verrry interesting. 



Figure 9-5: 

Sellathon 

chart 

showing 

2,228 hits on 

26 auctions 

in 7 days 

worth of 

listings! 



Most Active Day Of The Week 

(Figures basedon 2,228 hrts on 25 auctions.) 



Sunday 

Monday 

Tuesday 

Wednesday 

Thursday 

Friday 

Saturday 



321 
305 



CM 
(14; 
265 '.121 

36 
329 



;j6Q<iep 
312 



jjj ! El 



m m 



17 It 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Photo hosting 



If all you need is photo hosting, and you've checked out your ISP and they 
don't give you any free Web space to use (please check Chapter 8 for a list of 
ISPs and the amount of Web storage space they give to their customers), you 
can always use eBayco.uk's picture services to host an additional picture in 
each auction at 12p an image. 

However, if you run more than 40 auctions a month, a better alternative is 
Auctionpix.co.uk, offering a reasonably priced package, the FTP Account, 
which is tailored for eBay sellers. For S10 every three months (or S40 a year) 
you get 5MB of storage space to hold your eBay images, auction templates, 
and a handy feedback organiser, which allows you to track who hasn't given 
you feedback and, if necessary, chase them up. New users can buy more 
storage space for SI per MB. There are also some free services available. For 
more information, visit 

www. auctionpix. co . uk/ 



Automating other tasks 



You can automate a few more tasks. Having so many options is like being in a 
sweet shop: You may want it all, but that may not be good for you. For exam- 
ple, if you use online postage, you may not want to print your labels because 
that doubles your work. Take a serious look at the options you're offered and 
see whether they fit into your particular work style. 

Checking out 

When someone wins or buys an item, eBayco.uk's checkout integrates 
directly with PayPal and also indicates your other preferred forms of pay- 
ment. If you're closing less than 100 auctions a day, that arrangement is all 
you need. eBay and PayPal also send an e-mail to you and the buyer so that 
you can arrange payment. 

Some online auction management services offer your own private checkout 
area, which costs you a percentage of your sale, so you need to decide 
whether your business warrants this option - many do not. A personalised 
winner's notification e-mail can easily contain a link to your PayPal payment 
area, making a checkout service unnecessary. 

Tracking buyer information 

Keeping track of your winners isn't rocket science. You can track buyer infor- 
mation in an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document, both of which are 



Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions / / f) 



SJABE* 




exportable to almost any program for follow-up mailings promoting future 
sales. If you choose to have an online management service to track buyer 
information for you, make sure that you can download the information to 
your computer (in case you and the online service part company someday). 

Generating customised reports 

Sales reports, ledgers, and tax information are all important reports for your 
business. Online services and software supply different versions of these 
reports. 

PayPal allows you to download your sales data into a format compatible with 
QuickBooks, a highly respected and popular bookkeeping program. You can 
also choose to download your data in Excel spreadsheet format (the down- 
loads also work in Microsoft Works). PayPal reports are full of detailed infor- 
mation about your sales and deposits. Putting this information in a standard 
accounting software program on a regular basis makes your year-end calcula- 
tions easier to bear. (In Chapter 16, we detail what else you may need for this 
task.) 

Submitting feedback 

If you're running a lot of auctions, leaving feedback can be a chore. One solu- 
tion is to automate the submission of feedback through an online service or 
software. Timing the automation of this task can, however, be tricky. 

Don't leave feedback for an eBay.co.uk transaction until after you hear from 
the buyer that the purchase is satisfactory. Leaving positive feedback imme- 
diately after you receive payment from the buyer is too soon. After you 
receive an e-mail assuring you that the customer is satisfied, manually leav- 
ing feedback by going to the feedback forum (or the item page) can be just as 
easy - if not easier - as bulk-loading feedback. 



Managing \lour Business With Online 
Resources and So f Ware 

If you search the Internet for auction management services and software, you 
come up with loads. Most of these services and products are based in the US 
but offer services worldwide. For simplicity's sake, we examine just a few of 
these services in this chapter. After speaking to many sellers, we've found 
online services that offer uptime reliability (uptime is key here; you don't want 
the server that holds your photos going down or mis-launching your auctions) 
and software that's continually updated to match eBay.co.uk changes. 



176 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Using a site or software to run your auctions takes practice, so try any that 
appeal to you and that offer free preview trials. As we describe these different 
applications, we include a link so that you can check them out further. Table 
9-1 compares the costs of many auction management and online services. 



Table 9-1 



Cost Comparisons for Auction Management 
Services and Software 



Site Services or Software 



Cost 



All My Auctions (Rajeware.com) 



£22 (paid in US dollars) 



andale (http : / /uk . andale . com) 



Price scaled according to 
usage volumes 



Auctionsage.com 



£17 for three months (paid in 
US dollars) 



AuctionTamer.com 



£2/month (paid in US dollars) 



SpoonFeeder.com 



£12-£120 (paid in US dollars) 



eBay's Selling Manager 



Free 



eBay's Selling Manager Pro 



£4.99/month 



IDSAuction (www. auction-solutions . 
co .uk) 



Varies 



lnkFrog.com 



£8/month (paid in US dollars) 



Kyozou.com 



Varies 



Trak Auctions (http: //www. jwcinc .net/) Free basic package 



0bBE/} 




Some software and services work on a monthly fee, whereas others work on a 
one-time purchase fee. For a one-time-purchase software application to truly 
benefit you, it must have the reputation for updating its software each time 
eBay makes a change in its system. The programs that we discuss in this 
chapter have been upgraded continually to date. 

Most services have a free trial period. Don't spend lots of your precious time 
inputting your entire inventory, only to discover you don't like the way the 
service works. Instead, input a few items to give the service a whirl. 



Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions / / / 




Online auction management sites 

Auction management Web sites handle almost everything, from inventory 
management to label printing. Some sellers prefer online (or hosted) manage- 
ment sites because you can access your information from any computer. You 
may use every feature a site offers, or you may choose a bit from column A 
and a bit from column B and perform the more personalised tasks manually. 
Read on to determine what service best suits your needs. 

Although quite a few excellent online services for automating sales are avail- 
able, we have room here to show you only a few. Remember that by using an 
online service, your information resides on a server out there in cyberspace; 
if you're a control freak, it may be a bit much to bear. Many services are simi- 
lar in format, so in the following sections we point out some of the highlights 
of a few representative systems. 

When selecting a service, look for a logo or text indicating that the service 
is an eBay Certified Developer, Preferred Solution Provider, or API licensee. 
These people have first access to eBay's system changes and can implement 
them immediately. Others may have a day or so lag time to update their 
software. 

Following are some of the popular service providers in the online auction 
management arena: 

andale (uk . andale . com) 

Auctionsage (auctionsagesof tware . com) 

IDSAuction (www. auction- solutions . co .uk) 

Inkfrog (www. inkf rog . com) 

Kyozou (www . kyozou . com) 

andale offers a suit of services for online auctioneers and targets eBayers 
more than anyone else, as can be seen in Figure 9-6. The company supplies 
hit counters for eBay.co.uk auctions, but there's a whole lot more to the com- 
pany's product range, which includes: 

v* Counters: Tell you how much traffic your auctions are getting. Allow you 
to make more informed decisions about when to list items and for how 
much. 

v* Listing programmes: Give a more professional look to eBay.co.uk auc- 
tions and let you re-list items without having to re-write all the info. 



178 



Part III: Serious Business! 



v* Image hosting: Stores images and allows you to reuse them, andale 
claims its photos enjoy 99.98% uptime. 

i*" Gallery services: Give your auctions better cross-promotion by 

installing a prominent link to your gallery page featuring all your listed 
items. 



GulUCll6 i>w..jrj Junjtmm 

Pioducis | Counters ' Liner Image?. Gallery ; Checkout lister Pro 



Figure 9-6: 

andale's 

Web site 

homepage 



Username 



Password | 



M\ Password? Sign Up 



Questions? Email 



Andale Sales Solutions : 600 £45o 702' 

Smart Tools and Services for Online Sellers. 



1. Learn 

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ran Wp gou to impFoi'E 

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HeginiafiMn rates -Steer. 



3, Sell on eBay 

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4. Increase Sales 

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Copyright © 1999-2006 Andale Inc. -,.: vr .. 



IDS Auction Information Data Systems (www. auction-solutions . co.uk) 
(See Figure 9-7) is an old head in the auction management business (relatively 
speaking of course). The company has its home in Norfolk and since its 
launch in 2000 has grown steadily. 

It prides itself on its bespoke and friendly service and even suggests that if 
you can find any improvements needed with the service, they'll design it for 
you for free! Customer service is definitely a strong point for these guys and 
they claim that each customer gets a personal service. 

In general, however, IDS offers: 



u>* Search and filter facilities, which allow you to retrieve information 
quickly from current and archived auctions. 

«*" Financial analysis. 

p" Printouts of invoices and statements can be set to your specifications. 

i*" Auto catalogue creation, which can be set-up to include business logos 
and graphics. 



Chapter 9: Software Built for Online Auctions / / y 



v* The ability to share information between multiple sites. 

v* A reporting module: Powerful reporting tools allow you to retrieve and 
analyse data as you need it. 

v* A user-friendly Windows-style help file. 



Figure 9-7: 

IDS's 

Web site 
homepage. 




eBay.co.uk's Selling Manager 



When you subscribe to Selling Manager, the All 
Selling links in My eBay views are replaced by 
Selling Manager links. Selling Manager displays 
a summary of your current transactions. Many 
sellers (even some PowerSellers) rely on Selling 
Manager to handle their eBay management 
chores. 

From Selling Manager, you can: 

X" View listing status: You can see which 
sales activities you've completed and what 
you still have to do. 

*<" Send custom e-mail and post feedback: 

Customise your e-mail templates and setup 
stored feedback comments to help you run 
through the post-sales process quickly. 



i"* Re-list in bulk: Re-list multiple sold and 
unsold listings at once. 

f Maintain sales records: See individual 
sales records for every transaction, includ- 
ing a history of the transaction status. 

(*" Print invoices: Print invoices directly from 
sales records. 

v Download sales history: Export your sales 
records to keep files on your computer. 

j"* Keep track of NPB and FVF: File non-paying 
bidder alerts and final value fee requests. 



180 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Auction management software - 
Turbo Lister 

Turbo Lister is simple and easy to use. This software has a built-in WYSIWYG 
(what you see is what you get) HTML editor, which makes preparing listings 
offline easy. When you're ready, just click a button and your items are all 
listed at once. For a fee, you can also stagger listings and schedule them for 
a later date. 

Using Turbo Lister is as simple and straightforward as posting a listing using 
the Sell Your Item page on the eBay.co.uk site. One of Turbo Lister's benefits 
is that it allows you to prepare auctions while offline and group them for 
launching all at once to eBay. Using the program is a two-step process. First, 
you download the application from eBay.co.uk at 

pages . ebay . co . uk/turbo_lister /download. html 

Next, install Turbo Lister on your computer. You can then list auctions on the 
easy-to-use form (see Figure 9-8) and send them all to eBay in a group. You 
can also keep the listings in the program for re-listing in the future. What 
could be simpler? 



Figure 9-8: 

The Turbo 

Lister 

program, 

ready to go 

on your 

home 

computer. 



Item Inventory [23| 

~ £3 All Items 



Z3 All Items 

£) Barbie |1 0) I 
6 Fun Stuff [4] 
^ Girlie Things 
^ Toys [3) 
1^1 Travel Gear j 



Listings Waiting to Upload (0) 



Select the items you '■'rant to list on eBay, set the start time below, and then click the Add to Upload 
™ button. Control-Click to select multiple :terns to add to the upload. 



I Price I Buy It Now Price H 



JjJ 



S1 Burbie SWIM5UIT SU... I U* Auction I 1| 7 8.991 10.93 




4 BRAND NEW Mattel Bur... X Auction I 7 7.99 


9.99 




Andy Warhol Art MARILY... 


*V Auction 




7 


9.99 






Andy Warhol Art MARILY... 


*■ Store 




30 




19.99 




Andy Warhol Art MARILY... 


JL Auction 




7 


9.99 






Baihie 972 WEDDING DA... Jt> Auction 




7 


9.99 


12.99 




Bend Leg Barbie BROW... ■** Auction | 1 


7 


21.99 


25.99 




FREE SHIPPING ConairP... * Auction | 1 


7 


9.99 


15.99 




HARRY POTTER LEGO 47... X Auction 1 


7 


19.99 


24.99 




Limited SUMMER SOPHI... .1 Auction 1 


7 


21. SO 


25.99 


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Chapter 10 

Money and Sense: Budgeting 
and Marketing Your Auctions 



In This Chapter 

Marketing your listings by choosing the right category 
Using promotional options to your advantage 
Paying eBay.co.uk: The low-down on basic fees 



IX our entire online business is just that: A business. In every business, 
^t decisions are made regarding how much money to spend on each divi- 
sion of the company. Because you're the head of your company, you must 
make these decisions. Even if you're running auctions on a part-time basis, 
you still have to consider budget concerns. The one area in which you don't 
have to set aside money is shipping and fulfilment; in the eBay.co.uk model, 
the buyer pays your shipping and handling costs. (See Chapter 14 for more 
on shipping.) 

When you list an item for sale on eBay, you need to consider what the item 
will sell for, in what category to list it, and whether to add any eBay listing 
options. Establish a minimum percentage that you assign as your profit so 
that you can determine how much to spend on your advertising budget. If 
your item has a considerable amount of competition in its category, you may 
want to add some of the options eBay offers to make people notice it and 
want to buy it. The cost of these options (or advertising) needs to fit into 
your established advertising budget for the particular item. 

In this chapter, we give you a preview of the various options eBay offers its 
users, highlighting the cost of these options along the way. We also detail the 
basic eBay.co.uk fees. When you finish reading this chapter, you'll be well on 
your way to establishing a working budget and have a handle on marketing 
your items. 



182 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Listing \lour Items 



With tens of thousands of categories, finding the right place for your item can 
be daunting. (For more on eBay.co.uk categories, see Chapter 2.) You need to 
apply some marketing techniques when deciding where to place your auc- 
tions. Thinking about your budget is also necessary; you can list an item in 
two separate categories, but you have to pay double for that. Does your 
budget allow for paying twice? 

To find where other sellers have listed items that are similar to yours, per- 
form a completed item search for your item in the Advanced Search page. 
In the Search box, type your item keywords, tick the option to search 
Completed listings only, and indicate that you want your results sorted by 
highest prices first. Figure 10-1 illustrates the results of this kind of search. 





All lTfem& Auctions 


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need Search 










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Figure 10-1: 

Results of 
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item search, 
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categories 
in which the 


milBS Of [Postcode 

Show only: 

r Hems listed with PayPal 
i I - Buy |t Now items 
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After you have your results, click the completed listings with the highest 
priced bids. At the top of the auction page, you see the listed category. You 
may find that your item is listed successfully in more than one category. 

Check the active listings; are lots of people selling your item? If you see that 
you're one of 40 or 50 people selling the item, you need to get creative as to 
where to list your item. Evaluate the item and its potential buyers. In what 
categories would someone shopping for your item search? 



Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting and Marketing Your Auctions / Oj 



Suppose you find two perfect categories in which to list your item. eBay.co.uk 
allows you to list an item in two categories (see Figure 10-2), but is doing so 
the best marketing decision for your auction? Bear in mind that when you list 
an item in two categories, you must pay two listing fees. Depending on the 
time, the season, the availability of your item, and how much you paid for it, 
you may or may not have the money to budget for listing an item twice. 

In addition, many eBay buyers are quite savvy in using the search engine. If 
buyers search for your item using the search engine rather than by browsing 
the categories, listing the item in two categories may be a needless expense. 



Figure 10-2: 

List your 

item in two 

categories 

in the Sell 

Your Item 

form. 



Second category 

Listing In two categories lis;, been shown to im i*-|-* 
final price on aveioije by 13%. Learn more 

Insertion and mosl listing upgrade fees will be doubled. 
Finai value fees will not be doubled. 



Biowse caTe<j<nie$ 



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ach bos 



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Policies Feedback Forum Site K 

Copyright © 1995-2005 eBay Inc. All Right; Reserved, Designated trademark; and brands are 



cJIkBEtf 




You can change your category mid-auction, starting it in one category and 
ending it in another, as long as your item has not received a bid. And at the 
end of an auction in which your item doesn't sell, you can use the re-listing 
feature to run the auction again in another category. 



eBay.co.uk's Optional Listing Features 

When you come to the point in listing your item that brings you to eBay.co.uk's 
optional listing features, you see the headline, 'Get more bids with these 
optional features!' Increasing your bids sounds pretty good, doesn't it? But get- 
ting carried away by these options is easy and can lead to spending all your 
expected profits before you earn them. 



18 It 



Part III: Serious Business! 




In the eBay University Advanced Selling class, instructors quote auction suc- 
cess rates for the features, but in the real life of your business, success varies 
from auction to auction and category to category. If you take the boldface 
option and then your auction appears in a category full of boldface auction 
titles, the bold just doesn't have the punch you paid for. Your auction would 
stand out more without the bold option. The same logic applies to highlight- 
ing. Certain categories are loaded with sellers that go overboard in the use of 
this feature - all the auction titles appear in a big lavender blur. 

Weigh the pros and cons in terms of how these optional listing features affect 
your eBay business. Does spending a little extra money enhance your item 
enough to justify the cost? Can you make up the extra money in auction prof- 
its? You need a good understanding of what the options are and when and 
how you can use them to their fullest advantage. 

In every auction you run, you pay an insertion fee for listing your auction and 
a final value fee. (We discuss these two fees in the 'eBay.co.uk's Cut of the 
Action' section, later in this chapter.) If you accept credit card payments, 
or use a service such as PayPal, you also pay a fee to the payment service. 
Estimate your expenses from these basics before you consider spending 
money for advertising. 



Home-page featured auctions 

A user who goes to www . eBay .co.uk first arrives at the eBay.co.uk home 
page. A Featured Items area appears in the middle of the home page; below 
this area are links to six home-page featured auctions. When you click the 
All featured items link (see Figure 10-3), the home-page featured items page 
appears (see Figure 10-4). Most of these items are fixed-price listings that are 
valued at more than SI, 000. 

The home-page featured auction option sets you back S49.95 for a single item - 
but for big-ticket items, you have the perfect location to draw an audience that 
may easily earn back this sum. People who are new to eBay come in through 
the front page and the six auctions featured on the home page rotate randomly 
throughout the day. No guarantee exists that your item will be featured as one 
of the six home page links - but it will appear in the home page Featured cate- 
gory linked from the home page. 

Keep in mind, however, how much you're paying for this option. Unless your 
auction will bring you more than a few hundred pounds, this feature probably 
isn't worth the additional cost. 



Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting and Marketing Your Auctions / Qj 



Figure 10-3: 

The AN 

featured 

items link 

on the 

eBay.co.uk 

home page. 



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186 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Featured Plus 



When you choose the Featured Plus option, your auction is listed at the top 
of the page when a shopper searches for keywords or browses category list- 
ings. Although your auction doesn't appear on the eBay.co.uk home page 
(see the preceding section), it does appear at the top of your selected cate- 
gory home page (see Figure 10-5). 



Figure 10-5: 

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page 

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Plus 

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still necessary. How much do you expect your item to sell for? Will the S9.95 
expense benefit your auction enough to justify the expenditure? Be sure that 
your item will bring you more than a few hundred pounds before choosing 
this option. 



Subtitle 



You may use 55 characters for your item's title. Title search is the de facto 
search on eBay.co.uk. From the statistics we've seen of our own auctions, 90 
per cent of searches were made for title only, versus title and description. But 
how can you make your item stand out when it shows up with hundreds of 
other items that look the same? Use the subtitle option! 



Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting and Marketing Your Auctions / O 7 



When your item has something special about it or could use some extra 
description, the subtitle option allows you more space to give vital informa- 
tion to the browsing shopper. Take a look at the examples in Figure 10-6. 



Figure 10-6: 

eBay.co.uk 

seller 

expressbuy 

101 makes 

good use of 

the subtitle 

option by 

adding 

pertinent 

additional 

information. 



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Highlight option 



Highlighting makes anything stand out on a white page of text. This tech- 
nique works just as well on eBay.co.uk as it does on paper. Unfortunately, as 
with anything in life, less is more. If you choose to list your auction in a cate- 
gory where all the sellers decide to use the highlight option, the only listings 
that stand out are the ones without highlighting. 

The highlight feature sets you back just £2.50. Does your budget allow for 
that extra expense? To give your auction title a punch for a smaller amount 
of money, consider the bold option, described later in this section. 



Listing designer 



eBay.co.uk comes up with options to fill the needs (or wants in this case) 
of users. Sellers enjoy putting colourful graphics around their descriptions. 
The Listing Designer option also helps you design your description, placing 



188 



Part III: Serious Business! 




pictures in different places on the page. But if you have a good description 
(creatively done with HTML colour and emphasis) plus a good picture 
(inserted with the HTML code we gave you), your item will draw bids just the 
same as if you spent 7p extra (per listing) for the Listing Designer option. 

If you want your descriptions surrounded by graphics, make sure they aren't 
too intensive. Otherwise, the pages load too slowly for dial-up users. Also, 
you can develop your own template or buy one from savvy eBay graphics 
gurus (see Chapter 9). 

Use a graphics template to 'brand' your listings on eBay.co.uk, giving them a 
uniform look. If you want to use a template, decide on one and make it your 
trademark. 



Boldface option 



The boldface option is probably the most used option in the eBay.co.uk 
stable. An auction title in boldface type stands out in a crowd, unless . . . yes, 
that's right, unless it appears in a category loaded with boldface auction 
titles. If the 75p that eBay.co.uk charges for this benefit is in your auction 
budget, odds are it will get you many more views than if you don't use it. 
Boldface is an exceptional buy; we suggest going for it whenever you can. 

To recap your title option costs, see the 'Insertion (listing) fees' section later 
in this chapter. 



View counter 



Counters have become a popular free option in the online world. Placed on 
your auction by an outside service at your request, the numeric view counter 
ticks up each time someone loads your page from eBay.co.uk. The view 
counter can add up to numbers that impress bidders (convincing them 
they're viewing a hot deal) or impress other sellers to run out and sell the 
identical item at eBay. 

A counter is a terrific tool for marketing your auctions - sometimes. If you 
have an auction with no bids and a counter that reads a high number, newbie 
bidders may be dissuaded from taking a flyer and bidding on your auction. 
Newbies' thinking might be, if that many people looked at this auction and 
didn't bid, something must be wrong with the item. As a result, these bidders 
tend to doubt their own instincts as to what is and isn't a good deal. In real- 
ity, however, what may be going on is that savvy bidders are just watching 



Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting and Marketing Your Auctions / Qy 



your auction, waiting to bid at the last minute. This argument has a flipside, 
of course, because people will also be put off if your auction has a low 
number of hits. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules here. 

A private counter shields the numbers from the eyes of casual viewers. The 
figures are available to only you through a password-protected login page. 

Various private counters exist. Some of the most helpful private counters are 
smart counters that offer a breakdown of visitors hour-by-hour. This type of 
counter is available from several online vendors (see Figure 10-7). eBay.co.uk 
offers you a free counter, but it's not a smart counter. 



Figure 10-7: 

Andale's pro 

counter. 

Find out 

more at 

uk. 

andale . 

com/ 

corp/ 

index. 

jsp. 



Products Counters j Lister j Images Gallerv rrtecrtoiiT Lister Pro 



Username | 



Password \~ 



J Pa ssword? sign Up 



Questions? Email 
Andale Sales Solutions : 800 8456 7D2 



Andale Counters Pro - 



Sign Ua 



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See trends in the hits your listings receive - from 

hour to hour to know when you have the most 

potential buyers. 

Export your hits data to Excel to do even more 

detailed analysis. 

Use this option for a printer-friendly report 



The gallery 



eBay.co.uk bills the gallery as its 'miniature picture showcase', and indeed it 
is. By adding a gallery photo, a thumbnail image (96 x 96 pixels) of your item 
appears next to your listing when the user browses the category view or 
search results, which can reap you many benefits. When someone runs an 
auction search, eBay defaults to showing all items, and that includes a gallery 
preview, as shown in Figure 10-8. 



190 



Part III: Serious Business! 





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If you don't use the gallery image, but still have a picture in your description, 
your listing features only a lowly camera icon when searched. Choosing this 
15p option may be a worthwhile expenditure. If your item will sell for less 
than S20, however, the extra charge may not be worth it. 

Nothing draws the eye better than the gallery photo next to a listing in a search 
with hundreds of results. Which auction would you check outthe auction with 
the tiny camera icon, or the one with the crisp clear gallery picture tempting 
you to open the listing? Pictures are the key to all quality advertising. Don't 
miss an opportunity to add this extra little 'billboard' to your listings. 

Don't get carried away with the idea that a large percentage of bidders are 
going to view their search results in the picture gallery option, which results 
in pages featuring only gallery photos and titles. Those bidders who know 
what they're doing - and who are searching for a deal - don't dismiss auc- 
tions without gallery photos. Bidders with dial-up connections may not have 
the patience to wade through pages of images. 

eBay.co.uk also offers to feature your gallery photo on the top of gallery-only 
pages for S15.95. These photos run two across the top of the page, as shown 
in Figure 10-9, rather than the five across for the regular gallery pictures. 
These featured gallery pictures are also larger (140 x 140 pixels) than the reg- 
ular gallery pictures. 



Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting and Marketing Your Auctions J y J 



Figure 10-9: 

The 

eBay.co.uk 

picture 

gallery page 

with a 

featured 

photo. 



Seaich Options 


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If you use the gallery option, crop your photo tight to the subject. That way 
your item will stand out as much as possible. For more help with your images, 
see Chapter 11. 



$*BEff 




Bui^ h Now 



The Buy It Now feature, shown in Figure 10-10, has a few significant benefits. 
If you have a target price for the item you're listing, make that your Buy It 
Now price. You can also use this option during frenzied holiday shopping 
times or with very hot items. Try posting a slightly higher than normal price 
and perhaps you'll get a sale. 

The Buy It Now feature disappears when someone bids on the item or, if you 
place a reserve on the auction, when a bidder meets your reserve price. You 
can't use Buy It Now with a Dutch auction. 

To use this feature, you must have a feedback rating of at least 10. 

Buy It Now costs vary according to the value of your item. The feature costs 
5p for items worth S4.99 and under, but 25p for items over S30. If your item 
will sell for a low price, remember our golden rule: Before paying for a fea- 
ture, ask yourself whether your listing budget can accommodate it. 



192 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Figure 10-10: 

The Buy It 

Now 

feature. 



CARBON REAR EXHAUST BOX 3" EXIT - UNIVERSAL FITMENT 

, You are signed in 




■^ Lamer Picture-. 



Description 



sfflptfittw price: &&S§ 

Buy H Now > | 



42 mills 21 sees 

'ID-day listing, Ends lAJan-QG 10:33:21 GMT 

07-Jan-06 10:33:21 GMT 

5 available 

Purchases 

KINGSTON , SURREY 



Featured Category Auction Listing 
Post to: United Kingdom 

Postage costs: £3.99 -- Other Courier 
■fy Postage, payment derails and return policy 



WiitcliTl i?;, ;-"-.!.- in My eBa; | Email to a friend 



MWAUTOMOTIVE 



Seller information 

rrwauiornoti"e2 (45 ^ ) 

Feedback Score: 45 
Positive Feeilh.iek: 100% 

Member since 07-Dec-D5 in United 

Kingdom 

Registered as a business seller 



£;rai: 



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tflewsellei's 'rfliei JTfelliS 



, vlsr.dard Purchase Protection Offered. 



teller jssumee all responsibility for listing ihis iiem 



OUR LISTED STOCK IS IN OUR WAREHOUSE IN KINGSTON LONDON NOT USA. AND NOT 28 DAYS AWAY LIKE MOST 
OTHER SELLERS - ALSO YOU CAN COLLECT FROM US IN PERSON 



eBay.co.uk's Cut of the Action 



jiJUBEft 




Becoming complacent and blithely ignoring your eBay.co.uk costs as you list 
items for sale is easy to do. As a person in business for yourself, always take 
into account outgoing costs as well as incoming profits. The cost of your ini- 
tial listing is just the beginning of your advertising budget for that item; you 
have to factor in the cost of all the options and features you use as well. 
Then, when the item sells, you pay eBay.co.uk a final value fee. (For fees 
regarding your eBay shop, check out Chapter 5.) In this section, we review 
the costs for listing an auction and for a fixed-price listing on eBay. 

The fees we detail here aren't the end of your fees. If you use a credit card 
payment service, they also charge you a fee. In Chapter 13, we examine the 
costs of the most popular credit card payment services. 



Insertion (listing) fees 



Your insertion fee is based on the highest amount of two things: Your mini- 
mum opening bid or your reserve price. If you start your auction at 99p and 
have no reserve, the listing fee is 15p. But if you start your auction at 99p and 
set an undisclosed reserve price of S50, your auction costs SI. 50 to post. 
When you place a reserve on your item, you're charged an insertion fee 
based on the amount of the reserve - plus the reserve auction charge. 



c^BE/f 




Chapter 10: Money and Sense: Budgeting and Marketing Your Auctions / yj 



The reserve auction charge is automatically refunded if the reserve price 
is met. 

For a summary of eBay.co.uk insertion fees, see Table 10-1. (The fees for eBay 
Motors are in Chapter 2.) 



Table 10-1 


eBay. 


co.uk Listing Fees for Fixed-Price 
Single Item or Auction 


Starting or Reserve Price 




Insertion Fee 


£0.01 -£0.99 






£0.15 


£1.00 -£4.99 






£0.20 


£5.00 -£14.99 






£0.35 


£15.00 -£29.99 






£0.75 


£30.00 -£99.99 






£1.50 


£100 and above 






£2.00 



cjABE* 




If your item doesn't sell, you can't get your insertion fee back. This fee is non- 
refundable. You do have the option of re-listing your unsuccessful auction 
without being charged a second listing fee, but only if your item sells with the 
second listing. If the item doesn't sell the second time, you will be charged 
again. Writing a better title, starting with a lower opening bid, or adding a 
snappier description all help in selling the item. Also consider changing the 
category in which you list the item. 

We recap the cost of the various eBay.co.uk listing options in Table 10-2. 



Table 10-2 


Fees for eBay.co.uk Listing Options 


Option 


Listing Fee 


Home page featured 


£49.95 


Featured Plus 


£9.95 


Highlight 


£2.50 


Subtitle 


35p 


Bold 


75p 



(continued) 



196 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Table 10-2 (continued) 


Option 


Listing Fee 


Listing Designer 


7p 


Gallery 


15p 


Gallery featured 


£15.95 


Buy It Now 


5p 


List in two categories 


Double insertion fee 



eBay.co.uk Final Value Fees 

eBay.co.uk gets a cut when your auction sells - the final value fee. After your 
auction ends, eBay.co.uk charges the final value fee to your account in a 
matter of minutes. 

An auction in the Properties category is not charged a final value fee, 
Successful auctions in the eBay Motors category, however, are charged a final 
value fee depending on what your vehicle sells for. (See Chapter 2 for infor- 
mation on fees in both categories.) To help you calculate how much you owe 
eBay.co.uk for general items, see Table 10-3. 



Table 10-3 


Final Value Fees 


Closing Price 


Final Value Fee 


Item not sold 


No Fee 


£0.01 -£29.99 


5.25% for the amount of the high bid (at the listing 
close for auction-style listings) up to £29.99 


£30.00 -£599.99 


5.25% of the initial £29.99 (£1.57), plus 3.25% of the 
remaining closing value balance 


Over £600.00 


5.25% of the initial £29.99 (£1.57), plus 3.25% of the 
initial £30.00 -£599.99 (£18.53), plus 1.75% of the 
remaining closing value balance 




To save yourself brain ache, use an eBay.co.uk fee calculator to check your 
fees before you set prices. See Chapter 9 for software that does the calcula- 
tions for you. 



Chapter 11 

Jazzing Up Your Auctions 



In This Chapter 

Writing a great description 

Setting up a photo studio 

Shooting great pics 

Scanning your items 

Sprucing up your photos with imaging software 

Hosting your pics 

Finding HTML templates 



J^ule number 1: A good photograph and a concisely written description 
V %are the goal for all your auctions. If you're trying to fetch the highest 
possible bid for an item, keep your auction listings simple and professional: 
No dancing clowns (unless you're selling clowns), no overdone graphics, and 
no difficult-to-read typefaces. Less is more. 

In this chapter, you find out how to write eye-catching descriptions and 
improve the visual elements of your auction listings. 



Writing Winning Text 



When you write descriptions for your auctions, describe your items clearly 
and completely. Mention everything about the object, including flaws or 
damage. When you're honest up front, you'll have a happy bidder. Remember 
to include your terms of sale and specify what type of payments and credit 
cards you accept. Include your shipping charges, too. Following is a checklist 
of things to mention: 

p" Size, style, colour (garment measurements are also valuable because 
sizes aren't always universal) 

v* Condition (new, new with tags, used, gently used, well-worn) 

«*" Manufacturer's name 



196 



Part III: Serious Business! 




V Year of manufacture (if important) 

(-" Fabric or material (if important) 

n" Any damage to the item 

J-" Special features 

J-" That you've stored it in a clean, dry place (if you have) 

After you list all the facts, get excited and add a little flowery text in your 
description. Think infomercial! Think Shopping Channel! The descriptions 
used by these media make things sound so good that you absolutely must 
have whatever item they're selling. You can use the same technique, if you 
take the time. In Chapter 12, we give you some more pointers on writing the 
best auction descriptions possible. 



Setting Up \lour eBay.co.uk Photo Studio 

Taking pictures? No problem! You have a digital camera, and you know how 
to use it. Just snap away and upload that picture, right? Sorry, but no. A good 
way and a bad way exist to take photos for eBay.co.uk and, believe it or not, 
the professional way isn't necessarily the most expensive way. 

We recommend that you set up a mini photo studio for taking your eBay auc- 
tion pictures. That way, you don't have to clean off your kitchen counter 
every time you want to take pictures. 

If you must use the kitchen counter or a desktop, use an inexpensive photo 
stage, which you can find on - where else - eBay.co.uk. 

You need several basic things in your photo studio; the extras you may 
require are based on the type of merchandise you're selling. An eBay general- 
ist, someone who will sell almost anything online - like us! - should have 
quite a few extras for taking quality photos. Check out a portion of a home 
photo studio in Figure 11-1. 

What you find in this section may be more than you thought you'd need to 
take good pictures. But your photographs can help sell your merchandise, so 
take this part of your business seriously. Of course, if you sell only one type 
of item, you don't need such a varied selection of stuff, just the basic photo 
set-up. Spend only as much on photographic equipment as is prudent at the 
time -you can add to it as you go along. Also, check www. coolebaytools . 
com for more ideas. 




Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions / y/ 



Figure 11-1: 

An eBay 
photo set- 
up, featuring 
here in an 
eBay.co.uk 
auction. 




eBay Seller's Photo 
Lighting Kit 

Tired of your auctions having fuzzy 

pictures? The answer is to use this 

professional photo light kit,, designed 

for online images. It consists of two ID" 

reflectors with zinc die-cast stand 

adapters. Each reflector has an 

integrated ceramic socket for hulbs as 

high as 250 watts, with wood handling 

knobs. Two 6 foot all metal adjustable 

stands complete the kit. The kit comes 

with a short image tutorial by the 

author of "eBay for Dummies". 



.■•.•;,:-- 



-, this 



set at close to 
;sale price as it is selling with MO RESERVE! 
ng bidder to pay shipping & handling of $9, 
ust submit p ayrr.ent within a week of winning 
auction. Credit cards are accepted through 
Billpoint and PayPal. Good luck! 



GOOD LUCK, 
HAPPY BIDDING! 

Click fre/ow to... 

View my other auctions - Win more than 
one and $AVE on shipping. 1 



Digital camera 



Digital cameras are mysterious things. You may read about mega pixels (a 
million pixels) and think that more is supposed to be better, but that doesn't 
apply to eBay.co.uk applications or to Web images. Mega pixels measure the 
image resolution that the camera is capable of recording. For online use, all 
you need from a camera is 640 x 480 pixels (or at most 800 x 600) because 
computer monitors are incapable of taking advantage of more pixels. If you 
use a higher resolution picture, all you do is produce a pixel-bloated picture 
that takes a looooong time to load online. 

You don't need a million pixels, but you do need the following: 



v* Quality lens: If you wear glasses we're sure you can tell the difference 
between a good lens and a cheap one. Really cheap cameras have plastic 
lenses, and the quality of the resulting pictures is accordingly lousy 
Your camera is your work horse, so buy one from a company known for 
making quality products. 

v* Removable media: Taking the camera to your computer and using 
cables and extra software to download pictures to your hard drive is 
annoying. Removable media eliminates this annoyance. The most popu- 
lar are Smart Media cards (black wafer-thin cards), Compact Flash cards 



198 



Part III: Serious Business! 




(in a plastic shell), and Sony Media Sticks; all are no larger than a match- 
book. Insert these cards into your computer, if your computer has ports 
for them, or you can get an adapter that connects to your computer 
through a USB or parallel port. You can get either device on eBay.co.uk 
for about S20. 

Some cameras (specifically the Sony Mavica FD series) use a regular 
3^-inch floppy disc as a convenient storage method. These cameras 
are hugely popular with eBay sellers for just that reason. 

p" Tripod and tripod mount: Have you ever had a camera hanging around 
your neck while you're trying to repackage some eBay merchandise that 
you've just photographed? Or perhaps you've set down the camera for a 
minute and then can't find it? Avoid this hassle by using a tripod to hold 
your camera. Tripods also help you avoid blurry pictures from shaking 
hands. To use a tripod, you need a tripod mount, the little screw hole 
that you see in the bottom of some cameras. In the following section, we 
give you some tips on finding the right tripod. 

v* Macro setting capability or threading for a lens adapter: If you need to 
photograph coins, jewellery, or small detailed items, these tools will 
come in handy. A camera's macro setting enables you to get in really 
close to items while keeping them in focus. A threaded lens mount 
enables you to add different types of lenses to the camera for super 
macro focus or other uses. 

v* Autofocus and zoom: These options just make life easier when you want 
to take pictures. The ability to zoom in and keep things in focus should 
be standard features. 



We bet you can find a camera that fits your needs right now on eBay.co.uk for 
less than SI 00. Remember that many digital camera users buy the newest 
camera available and sell their older, low-megapixel cameras on eBay for a 
pittance. Many professional camera shops also sell used equipment. 



Other studio equipment 



Certain endeavours seem to be open pits that you throw money into. You can 
avoid having your eBay.co.uk photo studio become one of these pits - if you 
follow our advice. 



Tripod 

A tripod is an extendable aluminium stand that holds your camera. Look for 
one that has a quick release so that if you want to take the camera off the 
tripod for a close-up, you don't have to unscrew it from the base and then 
screw it back on for the next picture. 



Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions I yy 




The legs of the tripod should extend to your desired height, should lock in 
place with clamp-type locks, and should have a crank-style geared centre 
column so that you can raise your camera up and down for different shots. 
Most tripods also have a panning head for shooting from different angles. 
You can purchase a tripod from a camera shop or on eBay.co.uk for as little 
as S15. 

Pouter supplies 

Digital cameras can blast through batteries faster than chocolate through a 
five year old. A reliable power supply is a must and you can accomplish this 
in a couple of ways: 

v* Rechargeable batteries: Many specialists on eBay.co.uk sell recharge- 
able batteries and chargers. Pick up quality Ni-MH (nickel metal hydride) 
batteries because this kind, unlike Ni-Cad (nickel cadmium) batteries, 
has no memory effect. That means you don't have to totally discharge 
them. 

«*" CR-V3 lithium ion batteries: This is a new kind of battery that takes the 
place of two standard AA batteries. Lithium batteries are the longest 
lasting and lightest batteries available, but they're also expensive. Then 
some smart guy figured out a way to put two batteries into one unit, 
thus considerably cutting the price. This new battery can average 650 
photos before you have to change it. The CR-V3 is available also in a 
rechargeable form, thereby extending the life even further (and reducing 
your battery budget significantly). 

If your eBay.co.uk photo studio includes a camera on a tripod (and it should), 
you can use a good, old-fashioned AC adapter (you know, the one that plugs 
into the wall). 

Lighting 

Trying to take good pictures of your merchandise can be frustrating. If you 
don't have enough light and use the camera's flash, the image may appear 
washed out. If you take the item outside, the sun may cast a shadow. 

We've seen some eBay.co.uk sellers use a flash and instruct their children to 
shine a torch on the item as they photograph it from different angles - all the 
while hoping that the colour isn't wiped out. The autofocus feature on most 
digital cameras doesn't work well in low light. 

After consulting specialists in the photo business to solve the digital camera 
lighting problem, we put together an inexpensive studio lighting set for online 
auction photography. Check out www. coolebaytools . com for information 
on how to obtain this package (refer also to Figure 11-1 to see the lighting set 
in use in a home photo studio). 



200 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Professional studio lights can be expensive, but you may be able to find a set 
for around S80. (You need at least two lights, one for either side of the item, 
to eliminate shadows.) Search eBay.co.uk for used studio lighting; we're sure 
you can find good deals. 

Cloud borne 

If you're going to attempt to photograph a lot of jewellery, collectable coins, 
or other metallic items, you'll become frustrated at the quality of your pic- 
tures. Metallic objects seem to pick up random colour from any kind of light 
you shine on them for picture taking. Gold jewellery photographs with a 
silver tone and silver looks gold-ish! 

After conferring with lots of eBay.co.uk photo gurus, we were told the secret 
of getting crisp, clear, close-up pictures: use a Cloud Dome. This device sta- 
bilises your camera (just as if you were using a tripod) and filters out all 
unwanted colour tones, resulting in image colours that actually look like 
your item. 

The Cloud Dome is a large plastic bowl that you mount your camera on. You 
take pictures through the dome. The translucent white plastic diffuses the 
light so that your item is lit evenly from all sides, eliminating glare and bad 
shadows. Check out the manufacturer's Web site at www . clouddome .co.uk 
to see some amazing before and after pictures. 

The Cloud Dome also manages to get the best images from gems - you can 
actually capture the light in the facets! Pearls, too, will show their lustre. 
Several eBay.co.uk members sell the Cloud Dome; we highly recommend it! 



Props 



To take good photos, you need some props. Although you may think it 
strange that a line item in your accounting program reads 'Props', they do 
qualify as a business expense. (Okay, you can put it under photography 
expense; props just sounds so Hollywood!) 

How often have you seen some clothing on eBay.co.uk from a quality manu- 
facturer, but you just couldn't bring yourself to bid more than £5 because it 
looked like it had been dragged behind a car and then hung on a hanger 
before it was photographed? Can you see how the fabric hangs on a body? 
Of course not. Take a look at Figure 11-2; that dress looks simply fantastic, 
darling! 



Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions 2v 7 













Diane Von 

Furstenberg BRAND 

NEW with tags! 

1 00% Silk Jersey dress 
Fits Size 6 or 8 

This lovely silk number is THE sexiest 

dress! It's by hot designer Diane Von 

Furstenberg (who is featured in the 

new issue of Vogue). It's a fabulous 

silk jersey spaghetti strap dress, with 

a sexy cowl neckline. The original price 

of the dress is $220, and it can be 

yours for the highest bid. Draping 

beautifully on the body, it's got a sexy 

below the knee length and a very 

flattering cut. 

Bid with confidence and bid whatever you feel this 

great dress is worth to you as it is selling with NO 

RESERVE! Winning bidderto pay shipping & 

handling of $5.25, and must submit payment 

within a week of winning the auction. Credit cards 

are accepted through Billpoint and PayPal. 

GOOD LUCK, HAPPY BIDDING! 

Click beJow to... 

View my other auctions - Win more 
than one and $AVE on shipping! 


Figure 11-2: 

Midge, the 

mannequin, 

modelling 

one of our 

eBay.co.uk 

successes. 







Mannequin 

If you're selling clothing, photograph it on a mannequin. If you don't want to 
dive right in and buy a mannequin, at least get a body form to wear the outfit. 
Just search eBay.co.uk for mannequin to find hundreds of hollow forms sell- 
ing for less than £20. If you sell children's clothing, get a child's mannequin 
form as well; and the same goes for men's clothes. Alternatively, find a friend 
to model the clothes. No excuse justifies hanger-displayed merchandise in 
your auctions. 




Our mannequin has a great body and everything she wears sells at a profit. 
Many shops upgrade their mannequins every few years or so. If you know 
people who work at a clothes shop, ask when they plan to sell their old 
mannequins; you may be able to pick one up at a reasonable price. 

Steamer 

Clothing is fairly crumpled when it comes out of a shipping box. An item may 
also get crumpled lying around, waiting for you to photograph it and sell it on 
eBay.co.uk. If the clothing isn't new but is clean, run it through your dryer 
with Dryel (a home dry-cleaning product from the US) to take out any musty 
smells. Old, musty-smelling clothes can certainly sour a potentially happy 
customer. You can find Dryel on eBay.co.uk - surprise, surprise! 



202 



Part III: Serious Business! 



The clothes you want to sell may be crumpled, but ironing is a bind (and may 
damage the fabric), so do what retail professionals do: Use steamers to take 
the wrinkles out of freshly unpacked clothing. Get the type of steamer that 
you use while the article of clothing is hanging up, so you can just run the 
steamer up and down and get the wrinkles out. The gold standard of steam- 
ers is the Jiffy Steamer: It holds a large bottle of water (distilled only), rolls on 
the floor, and steams from a hose wand. Some models of Jiffy Steamer sell on 
eBay.co.uk for under S75. Until you're ready to make an investment that big, 
at least get a small handheld version that removes wrinkles; search eBay for 
(garment,clothes) steamer to find some deals. 

Display stands, risers, and more 

Jewellery does not photograph well on most people's hands and actually 
looks a lot better when you display it on a stand (see Figure 11-3) or a velvet 
pad. If you're selling a necklace, display it on a necklace stand, not on a 
person. We bought our display stands from a manufacturer but had to wait 
several months to receive them. Apparently, this type of quality display stand 
is made to order, so we recommend searching for them on eBay.co.uk (you'll 
get them sooner). 

Risers can be almost anything that you use to prop up your item to make it 
more attractive in a picture. Put riser pieces that aren't attractive under the 
cloth that you use as a background. (You can find risers on eBay.co.uk.) 



Figure 11-3: 

An 

eBay.co.uk 

listing 

featuring a 

professional 

jewellery 

display. 



Ralph Lauren Signed Silver 16' Necklace 




This stunning, brand new designer necklace is just the right length, 16" - and 

adjustable for smaller necks. Signed on reverse of stirrup goldtone plate (see 

photo betow), also signed on the silver toggle. Your chance to get this retail 

$48 necklace for a fraction of the cost! The perfect gift for you or a friend. 




Bid with confidence and bid whatever you feel this item is worth to you, as it is selling with :\0 

RESERVE 1 . I pack all my items carefully. Winning bidder to pay shipping & handling of $3, and must 

submit payment within a week of winning the auction. I will accept credit cards through BillPoint 

and PayPal - Good Luck, Happy Bidding! 



Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions 20 J 



You wouldn't believe what the back of some professional photo set-ups look 
like. Photographers and photo stylists think resourcefully when it comes to 
making the merchandise look good - from the front of the picture, anyway! 
We've seen the most creative things used to prop up items for photography: 

v* Bottles of mercury: Mercury is a heavy liquid metal. A photographer we 
once worked with used little bottles of this stuff to prop up small boxes 
and other items in a picture. But mercury is a poison, so we suggest you 
do the same with small bottles (prescription bottles work well) filled 
with sand. 

j-" Beeswax and clay: To set up photos for catalogues, we've seen photog- 
raphers prop up fine jewellery and collectable porcelain with beeswax 
(the kind you can get from the orthodontist works great) or clay. 
Beeswax is a neutral colour and doesn't usually show up in the photo. 
However, you must dispose of beeswax often because it picks up dirt 
from your hands and fuzz from fabric. 

v* Museum Gel and Quake Hold: These two products are invaluable when 
you want to hold a small object at an unnatural angle for a photograph. 
(These products are like beeswax and clay, but cleaner.) Museums use 
these putty-like products to securely keep breakables in one place - 
even during an earthquake! 

v* un-du: un-du is a clear liquid that removes sticky residue from almost 
anything. If your item has sticker residue on it, the mess is bound to 
show up in the picture. Squirt on a little un-du and use its patented 
scraper to remove the goo and bring back the shine. Although this is 
sold in the US, you can get hold of un-du (and QuakeHold) through sell- 
ers on ebay.com - expect to pay more for shipping! 

v* Metal clamps and duct tape: These multipurpose items are used in 
many photo shoots in some of the strangest places. Your mannequin 
may be a few sizes too small for the dress you want to photograph. How 
do you fix that problem? Don't pad the mannequin; simply fold over the 
dress in the back and clamp the excess material with a metal clamp, or 
use a small piece of duct tape to hold the fabric taut. 

Keep a collection of risers and propping materials in your photo area so 
they're always close at hand. 

Backgrounds for your images 

Backgrounds come in many shapes and sizes. You can use paper, fabric, or 
one of the portable photo stages for smallish items. 

In professional photo-talk, seamless is a large roll of 3-foot (and wider) paper 
that comes in various colours and is suspended and draped behind the 
model and over the floor. (Ever wonder why you never see the floor and wall 
come together in professional photos?) Photographers also drape the seam- 
less over tabletop shots. Some people use fabrics such as muslin instead of 
seamless. 



20b 



Part III: Serious Business! 



We keep satin and velvet on hand. (Clean black velvet with sticky tape before 
you use it in a picture - lint appears huge in photos.) Use neutral fabrics 
(such as white, light grey, natural, and black) for photographing your mer- 
chandise so that the colour of the fabric doesn't clash with or distract from 
your items. 

The Cloud Dome people have also invented a great photo stage, which is 
portable (easy to store), non-breakable, simple to clean, and inexpensive. 
This stage is sold on eBay.co.uk and is pictured in Figure 11-4. 



Figure 11-4: 

Cloud 

Dome's 

photo stage 

(bottle not 

included). 




lakinq Good Pictures 



If you have a small home photo studio set-up (see the preceding section) 
with a quality camera, a tripod, props, and lights, you're well on your way to 
taking some quality shots for your auctions. A few things to remember: 







V* Zoom in on your item: Don't leave a load of extraneous background in 
your pictures. Crop extra background in your photo-editing program 
(see the 'Image-Editing Software' section, a bit later in this chapter) 
before you upload the images to your image-hosting service. 

v* Watch out for distracting backgrounds: If you don't have a studio table- 
top, or if the item is something that won't fit on a table, try to make the 
background of the photo as simple as possible. If you're shooting the 
picture outside, shoot away from chairs, tables, hoses - you get the 
idea. If you're shooting in your home, move the laundry basket out of 
the picture. 

One of our favourite eBay pictures featured a piece of fine silver taken 
by the husband of the woman selling the piece on eBay.co.uk. Silver and 
reflective items are hard to photograph because they pick up everything 
in the room in their reflection. In her description, the woman explained 



Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions 203 




that the man reflected in the silver coffeepot was her husband and not 
part of the final deal. She handled that very well! 

v* Be sure the items are clean: Cellophane on boxes can get scruffy look- 
ing, clothing can get linty, and all merchandise can get dirt smudges. 
Not only do your items photograph better if they're clean, they sell 
better, too. 

Clean plastic or cellophane with WD-40 (no kidding); this product takes 
off any sticker residue and icky smudges, un-du is the best adhesive 
remover for paper, cardboard, clothing, and more, plus it comes with a 
handy plastic scraper. Also keep an art rubber around to clean off small 
dirt smudges on paper items. Any cleaning solution can help your items, 
but use these chemicals with care so that you don't destroy the item 
while cleaning it. 

J-" Check the camera's focus: Just because a camera has an autofocus fea- 
ture doesn't mean that pictures automatically come out crisp and clear. 
Low light, high moisture, and other things can contribute to a blurred 
image. Double-check the picture before you use it. 



Usinq a Scanner 



Scanners have come a long way in the past few years. This once expensive 
item can now be purchased new for a little more than £50. If you sell books, 
autographs, stamps, or documents, a scanner may be all you need to shoot 
your images for eBay.co.uk. 

When shopping for a scanner, don't pay too much attention to the resolution. 
As with digital cameras, images for the Internet (JPEGs) needn't be any 
higher than 72 ppi (pixels per inch). Any quality scanner can get that resolu- 
tion these days. Quality makes a difference in the manufacture of the scanner, 
so stick with brand names. 

Use a flatbed scanner, on which you lay out your items and scan away. You 
can use an HP OfficeJet, which is not only a scanner but also a printer and 
reducing/enlarging colour copier - most even come with a fax! These nifty 
flatbed units are available brand new on eBay.co.uk for around S150. 

A few tips on scanning images for eBay.co.uk: 

J-" If you're taking traditionally processed photographs and scanning them 
on a scanner, print them on glossy paper because they scan much better 
than those with a matt finish. 

J-" You can scan 3-D items, such as a doll, on your flatbed scanner and get 
some respectable-looking images. To eliminate harsh shadows, lay a 
black or white t-shirt over the doll or her box so that it completely 



206 



Part III: Serious Business! 



covers the glass. This way you have a clean background and you get 
good light reflection from the scanner's light. 

If an item is too big for your scanner's glass, simply scan the item in 
pieces, and then reassemble it to a single image in your photo-editing 
program (see the following section). 

Boxed items are a natural for a flatbed scanner. Just set them on top of 
the glass, and scan away. You can crop the shadowed background with 
your photo-editing software (see the following section). 



Image-Editing Software 



Lose the idea that the software that comes with your scanner is good enough. 
That software may be just fine for some uses, but the kind of control that you 
need is only available in real image-editing software, not a mere e-mail picture 
generator. 

We've always been happy using Photoshop. However, this program is large, 
expensive, and a bit of an overkill for eBay.co.uk images. Recently we started 
using Paint Shop Pro by Jasc software (now part of Corel), a robust profes- 
sional program at a fraction of the price of Photoshop. Paint Shop Pro is also 
one of the easiest-to-learn programs on the market. We've seen new packages 
of Paint Shop Pro 8.1 sell for as low as S13.99 (if you're a good shopper, we 
know you can find these deals). Hint: Look for sellers putting PaintShop as 
one word (PaintShop) in the title. 

Paint Shop Pro offers features that enable you to make a good picture out of 
a bad one. This program also has a brilliant export-to-Web feature that com- 
presses the images so that they hold their quality while becoming smaller. 
Images compressed in this fashion download a lot faster for dial-up customers. 
You can also touch up your family photos in this easy-to-use program. 

Don't forget that you are working with images not only for eBay items but 
also for your Web site. (Check out Chapter 8 for more about putting together 
a Web site.) The Corel Web site (www. cor el .co.uk/servlet/Satellite? 
pagename=Corel3Uk/Downloads/Trials) offers free trial downloads. 



A Home (or \lour Images 



You need a professional and safe place to store your pictures for eBay.co.uk. 
If your images don't appear when someone clicks your auction, or if your 
images take too long to load, a user may click off your auction and go to the 
next one. If you have more than one option, test each with a few pictures 
because you want the most reliable one. 



Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions 20 / 



aSJMfi/ 




If you use auction management software, you may not need an FTP program 
to upload your images. Most complete management programs integrate their 
own FTP program as part of the package and may also include image storage 
space on their server. Check out Chapter 9 for more about auction manage- 
ment software packages. 

Always put your eBay.co.uk images in a separate directory - not in an active 
part of your Web site. You may think that using your business Web site is a 
good place to store your images, but it isn't. If you want to keep track of your 
site statistics, such as the number of visitors, hits, and the like, hosting your 
own images will ruin the data. A call for one of your eBay images counts as a 
hit on your site, and you never get accurate Web site stats. 



Free ISP space 



Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) give you at least 5MB of storage space 
for your personal home page. Although not appropriate for your final busi- 
ness site, this 5MB space is a perfect place to host your pictures. Everyone 
has an ISP, and all ISPs give you space. You may have to use an FTP program 
to upload to your Web space, or your ISP may supply its own uploader. Go to 
the home pages for your ISP (the member area), and check out what it offers. 
Visit Chapter 8 for more information on ISP space. 




Auction management sites 

If you're using one of the auction management Web sites that we discuss in 
Chapter 9, you're covered for most of your back office tasks. These Web sites 
supply enough Web space to hold all your eBay.co.uk images. They also have 
a convenient one-click upload from your hard drive. 

If you find that you truly have no place to host your images, take a look at 
some of the less expensive auction management sites. As of writing, you can 
get image hosting and other auction utilities for around S10 a month at 



p* www.auctionpix.co.uk 

k" www.tele-pro.co.uk/ssl/submit_image.asp 

c" inkfrog.com 

v* manageauctions.com 



eBay.co.uk Picture Services 



You can also use eBay.co.uk Picture Services to host your photos for eBay, 
but the quality of your photos is better if you host them directly from a site. 



208 



Part III: Serious Business! 




Really clear pictures on Picture Services are few and far between. Picture 
Services reformats your photo to fit in a layout 400 pixels wide by 300 pixels 
tall and then compresses the file for quick viewing. This process can destroy 
the quality of your carefully photographed images if you haven't saved them 
in a compatible size. You're running a business, so be businesslike and use 
the method that presents your photos in their best light. 

To get the free top-of-page image that you see on many auctions, you must 
use eBay Picture Services. We suggest that you use eBay Picture Services for 
your primary image and also use secondary images of your items hosted 
elsewhere. If one of the picture servers goes down, at least your listing will 
have pictures. The first picture is free; all you have to do is click the box on 
the Sell Your Item page's Picture Services area, next to Add picture. This pic- 
ture will also be the default picture for use as your all-important gallery 
image. (See Chapter 10 for more on using the gallery.) 



eBay.co.uk offers two versions of Picture Services. The basic version (see 
Figure 11-5) allows you to upload eBay-ready images as they appear on your 
computer. 

If you want to rotate or crop the picture, you need the enhanced picture ser- 
vice. Click the Upgrade link, and a screen similar to Figure 11-6 appears. 















Add pictures & Gallery 








Usg these tips to add a great photo to your listing. 






eBav Enh ervices ■■:■! eB.w E.isic Picture Services Your Web hostino 










Urjarade to eBay Enhanced Picture Services at no additional cost. It's faster, lets vou upload pictures of any size, a 
rotate your pictures. 

Picture 1 (Free) 


d enables you to preview, crop and 






| B,„. S e . 




To add pictures to your listing, click Browse. 
Picture 2 (£0.12) 




I Browse... 




Picture 3 (£0.12) 




I Browse... 




Picture 4 (£0.12) 




| Browse . | 


Figure 11-5: 


Picture 5 (£0 12) 




I 


The basic 


Picture 6 (£0.12) 


Picture 
Services 
photo- 
hosting 
page. 


Browse... 


Add up to 6 more pictures 

Havinci oroblems addinp pictures? Try these 'leshootino tins. 


Gallery options 

T Gallery £0.151 |Requires a picture, add a picture now| 
Add a small version of your first picture to Search and List' See ; 

r Railed Featured f£15 951 IRenmres a nictnre add a mrture nnwl 



To upload your pictures using the enhanced version, follow these steps: 



1. Click the Add Picture button, which appears in the picture frame. 

A browsing window appears. 



Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Auctions 20 y 



2. Locate the directory that holds your eBay images on your computer. 

3. Click the image in the browsing window. 

The image name appears in the filename box. 

4. Click the Open box. 

The selected image appears in the picture frame. 

5. To rotate the image, click the circular arrow (at the upper left of the 
main image box). 

6. To crop the image: 

a. Click the crop box in the right corner of the larger image. 

Two squares appear at opposite corners of your main image. 

b. Click the frame on the outside of your image, and move the bar 
until the offensive area is cropped out. 

You can crop like this from the sides, top, and bottom of the picture. 

Sometimes Picture Services shrinks your image to a too-small size, but you 
can't do much about it. Just be sure to reload the image each time you re-list 
the item; otherwise, the gallery image may just get smaller and smaller. eBay 
continues to improve Picture Services, so don't give up on it. Use Picture 
Services for the free image, and be sure to upload secondary images from an 
outside site. 



Figure 11-6: 

eBay.co.uk's 

Enhanced 

Picture 

Services. 



Add pictures & Gallery 

Use these Llrs 1o add a great photo to your listing. 



d eBay Enhanced Picture Services eBay Basic Picture Services Your Web hosting 



2 (E0.12) - 



itJAddPictur., SlAddPictur, 



3. ILQ.12I 4. ILQ.12I 



I I— l ^ 



■A preview ui U'jiji picture will appear hetre. 



|a»ddPid.ur.,| |a»ddP il .ur.,| ^ | , B . m „,. p ,„. | 



Hswng problems ?>:;d;r,g piciuras? Try this or 

Galleiy options 

Applies 1d first picture 
r Gallery (£0.15) (RetjLinrE. a picture, Jd a picture now ] 

.. ■ I ■ .■ .1 I . .1 ii i ■!■ 

r Gaiitjr'y Featured (£15.95) [Requires a picturs, ] 



210 



Part III: Serious Business! 



HTML Made Easy 



Our small grasp of HTML gets us only so far. We usually use a program such 
as CuteHTML to produce code for our Web site or eBay.co.uk listings. Luckily, 
you don't have to know a lot of code to produce eBay auctions. 

The Sell Your Item form has an excellent, basic HTML generator that has a 
toolbar similar to the one in a word processor. As you can see in Figure 11-7, 
you can use the toolbar to change the size, font, or colour of the text. You can 
also insert coding by switching to the 'Enter your own HTML view of the 
description to include your own hosted images in the listing description. 
(Check out Chapter 9 for some sample coding to use in your own listings.) 



Figure 11-7: 

eBay.co.uk's 

HTML code 

generator. 




Describe your items features, benefits, and condition. Get tips on writing a great item description . 
J Standard | | Enter your own HTML | 



73 I 12 d | Red jj B / U £ S 5 =~St: 



Spell Check 



Black and white photo of 

The Beatles and Cassius Clay 

(Mohammad AN) 

Up for auction is a print of a photo that I took long, long ago when I skipped school to I 
see The Beatles do a publicity shoot with then Cassius Clay at the 5th Street Gym on 
Miami Beach. The image quality is kind of fuzzy and is taken from a scan of the 
original I snapped it with my old Kodak camera and I was excited beyond belief I 
(Holding the camera steady was not an option) 

• Picture is 4" x 5" 

• Printed on HP Photo glossy paper 
Comes with a two p age description of the event | 



You can add pictures and themes on the next page 



For a quick and easy HTML fix, go to 



www. coolebaytools . com 



Then go to the Tolls area and click Cool free ad tool . You get a quick HTML 
generator; feel free to use it as often as you like. You incur no charge. You can 
select border colours and include an image in your description area - nothing 
fancy, mind you, just nice clean HTML. You type your information as indi- 
cated and select colours. When you finish, click the View Ad button. On the 
next page, you see HTML code for your auction description that you can cut 
and paste into the auction description area of the Sell Your Item page. 



Chapter 12 

Providing Excellent 
Customer Service 



In This Chapter 

Making a good first impression 
Describing items effectively 
Writing the perfect e-mail 



7 

I b 



he customer is always right' may be an old adage, but if you want your 
business to thrive on eBay, you need to take a leaf out of this book. 

While not always right, the customer is your primary concern - and you must 
treat them thus. Businesses become successful by providing fantastic cus- 
tomer service and selling quality products. You are no different. The image 
that you project through your e-mails and ads shows bidders whether you 
are a good guy or a bad guy. Your e-mails should be polite and professional. 
Your ads shouldn't make prospective buyers feel like you're hustling them, 
sneaking in hidden fees, or being pushy with unnecessary bidding. 

You don't have to have the most beautiful auctions to succeed on eBay. You 
need products that sell, and you must take the time to build good customer 
relations! In this chapter, we cover some ways - from writing effective auc- 
tion descriptions to sending cordial e-mails - to let your customers know 
that they're number one in your book. 



Providing a Homely Touch 



eBay is a person-to-person marketplace. Although many sellers are businesses 
(like you), the perception is that sellers on eBay are individuals (as opposed 
to businesses) earning a living. The home-grown personal approach goes a 
long way to making you a successful eBay seller. One of the reasons many 
buyers come to eBay is that they want to support the individuals who had 
the get-up-and-go to start their own small businesses on the site. 



212 



Part III: Serious Business! 





After you write a catchy title for your auction (check out Chapter 10 for 
advice on how to do this), prospective buyers click your listing and scroll 
down to your description. Do they have to wade through pointless verbiage, 
losing interest along the way? Or do you get right down to business and state 
the facts about your item? 

Here are a few things to remember when writing your auction description: 

v* Write a factual description. Do you carefully describe the item, stating 
every fact you know about it? Are you clear in your description and 
careful not to use any jargon? Does it answer all glaring questions a 
potential buyer may ask? If not, do some revising. 

v* Include some friendly banter. You want to make the customer feel com- 
fortable shopping with you. Don't be afraid to let your personality show! 

J-" Update your 'My eBay' page. Let people know a little about you and 
who they're dealing with. When customers have to decide between two 
sellers offering the same item and all else is equal, they typically place 
their bid with the seller who makes them feel secure. 

v* Limit the number of auction rules (or terms of sale). Some sellers 
include a list of rules that's longer than the item's description. Nothing 
turns off a prospective buyer like paragraph after paragraph of rules and 
regulations. If you really must put in a litany of rules, do not use capital 
letters and apply the following bit of HTML to make the size of the text 
smaller: <font size=-l> 

v* Choose a reasonable typeface size. Many users are still looking at eBay 
on an 800 x 600 display. If you design your auctions at 1024 x 768, your 
typefaces may be too large for the average user. Forcing users to scroll 
and scroll to find the details only frustrates them. 

p" Quote the shipping charge. Many bidders pass up auctions that don't 
disclose the delivery costs. Make use of eBay's shipping calculator to 
give your customers an idea of the shipping costs. If many others are 
selling the same item you're selling, quoting reasonable shipping costs 
will help you reel in buyers. 

Overcharge on shipping is just wrong. eBay buyers expect that you pad 
up to a pound for packing and shipping costs, but adding more than that 
can make you look like you're trying to squeeze every last penny out of 
your bidder . . . not a good feeling when you're on the receiving end! 

p" Keep photos a practical size. A large proportion of users still use a dial- 
up Internet connection, and if they have to wait for your large pictures 
to load, they may go elsewhere for the item. If your listing doesn't fully 
open within a few seconds, the person may back out and go on to 
another listing. 



Chapter 12: Providing Excellent Customer Service 2 1 J 



Telling your story 



Being honest and forthright encourages cus- 
tomers to consider your offerings on eBay. Also, 
if you go the extra mile and give some bonus 
information, the customer may feel more at 
ease. 

Anexcellentexamplecomesfroma PowerSeller, 
John Rickmon of e. vehicles. He always throws in 
a few special touches to draw in the customer. 
As you may gather by his user ID, John sells 
vehicles on eBay - and does very well out of it! 

John posts his business philosophy at the end 
of his auctions; here's part of it: 

My dealership is entirely focused on the 
sales of vehicles via the eBay format. I make 
all purchasing and sales decisions and am 
100% responsible for the content of my auc- 
tions, including all text and photography. 



I personally answer every e-mail and con- 
duct all business regarding the sale of this 
vehicle. 

I buy and list approximately 10-15 units per 
month; I look at hundreds of vehicles each 
week that do not cut the mustard. 

This is my living. I do this full time. I do not 
have a showroom. eBay has been my deal- 
ership for years, and all operations are 
focused towards bringing you the best 
vehicle possible at the best price you will 
find. I am committed to this format and take 
your vehicle purchase very seriously. You 
are dealing with a secure seller. 

Would you by a used car from this man? We 
think so! 



Commimicatinq u/ith \lour Customers 

Perhaps English wasn't your favourite subject at school, but when it comes to 
being a professional, incorporating good grammar, proper spelling, and punc- 
tuation in your communications portrays you as a pro. Before writing this 
book, even we hooked up with some grammar and punctuation sites to brush 
up on our writing skills. (Okay, we also have brilliant editors covering up our 
transgressions . . .) 

Throughout the rest of this section, we provide some examples of effective 
e-mails. Study these examples and also check out a few books on business 
letter writing (for example, Writing Business Letters For Dummies, by Sheryl 
Lindsell-Roberts and published by Wiley). Don't forget good manners either. 
You don't want to be too formal, but you do want to be personable and 
polite. 



2U 



Part III: Serious Business! 



The initial inquiry 




The first written communication you have with a prospective buyer is called 
an inquiry e-mail. A bidder can ask you a question about your item by clicking 
the Ask the seller a question link on the auction or sale page, which automati- 
cally generates an e-mail addressed to you. Often these questions are brief. 

On average, about 20 per cent of inquiries to sellers don't get a response. We 
refuse to do business with someone who can't be bothered to respond to a 
simple question. Often responses are terse, brusquely written notes. Many 
people choose not to use punctuation or capitalisation in their e-mails - not 
very professional! Sellers who want our money must take the time to write a 
short, considerate reply that includes a greeting and a thank you for writing. 

Respond quickly, clearly, and politely - including in the text a discreet sales 
pitch. Remind the soon-to-be bidder that you can combine several wins to 
save on shipping costs. Use this opportunity to point out other auctions you 
have that may also interest the writer - they'll be impressed by your cus- 
tomer service. 

The letter can be brief and straightforward; for example, the following note 
was written in response to a question regarding the condition of an aluminium 
Christmas tree in a recent auction: 

Hello, 

Yes, the aluminium Christmas tree in my auction is in excellent condition. The 
58 branches are full and lush and will look great for the holidays. Please write 
again if you have any more questions or concerns. 

Don 't forget to check my other auctions for a colour wheel and a revolving 
tree turner. They would look great with this tree, and I can combine them for 
shipping. 

Thank you for writing, 

Marsha 

www. coolebaytools . com 

Isn't that response nice? The note addresses the question in a respectful and 
personable manner. Writing an answer like this doesn't take long, and it could 
make the difference between a sale and a no-sale. 

Also, inserting your Web site or eBay store address in your e-mail signature 
is a great way to get new customers to view your other merchandise (see 
above). 



Chapter 12: Providing Excellent Customer Service 213 




The dinner's notification tetter 

Have you ever received a bulk-generated standard winner's confirmation 
letter? The seller hasn't bothered to fill in half the blanks, and you're verging 
on insulted by the 'can't be bothered' message? Receiving a note like this 
after you request that the seller combine purchases (and the letter pays no 
attention to your request) is especially annoying. A personal approach goes a 
long way with customers as is shown in the message below, sent by Marsha. 

We're not saying you shouldn't automate your eBay business. We're merely 
suggesting - strongly recommending - that you take the time to personalise 
even your canned e-mail responses. If you decide to send automated 
responses, choose a program that allows you to combine multiple wins in 
one letter and to apply the correct shipping costs the first time. 

Here's the tried and true winner's notice that Marsha sends out: 

Congratulations! 

Yours was the winning bid on eBay item #122342911 for the Emilio Pucci book! 
You got a great deal! I am looking forward to a pleasant transaction and positive 
feedback for both of us. 

Please include a copy of this e-mail with your name and shipping address along 
with your payment: 

Winning Bid Amount $14. 95 

Shipping and Handling $2.50 

TOTAL Amount Due $17.45 

You may pay by money order, with a personal check, or with a credit card 
through PayPal. If you are not set up with them, just e-mail me and I'll send you 
a PayPal invoice. 

A money order or online payment assures immediate shipping upon receipt 
of payment! If you pay by check, I will ship your item after a 14-day clearing 
period; be sure to include the item name and your e-mail address with pay- 
ment. Please send your payment to the address shown below: 

Marsha Collier 

1234 Anywhere Street 

Los Angeles, CA 91352 



216 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Your payment is expected on or before Saturday, April 2, 2006. I look forward to 
receiving it. I will ship on receipt of payment in full, via priority mail with deliv- 
ery confirmation. 

Thank you for your Winning Bid! I am delighted to be dealing with you and 
know you will enjoy your purchase. 

Marshajz 
Marsha Collier 

www. coolebaytools . com 

At the end of a winner's notice letter, offer your winner some special dis- 
counts or other offers from your Web site. Include a few items this particular 
winner may be interested in (based on the current win) and include a link to 
your site. Also include the reminder that you can combine postage and that 
you look forward to a response. 



The payment reminder 



Writing a payment reminder can get sticky. You don't want to aggravate the 
buyer, but time is money and you could be better off reposting your item. 
When writing a payment reminder, you need to be firm but pleasant. Real 
things can happen in people's lives. Family members become unwell, and 
people just plain forget. Perhaps your payment fell between the seats of the 
winner's car on the way to the post office. When you honestly forget to send 
a payment, nothing is more humiliating than someone haranguing you 
through e-mail. So remember that people do make mistakes, and check the 
winner's feedback before you send the letter. If you can garner from the feed- 
back that this winner has a habit of not following through on bids, you can 
definitely be a bit firmer in your wording. Always set a clear deadline for 
receiving payment, as the following letter shows: 

Hello 

You won an auction of mine on eBay last week for the Emilio Pucci e book. Your 
payment was due yesterday, and it still has not arrived. Perhaps sending pay- 
ment has slipped your mind considering your busy schedule. I know it can easily 
happen. 

Please e-mail back within 48 hours and let me know whether you want to go 
through with our transaction. I'd like to put the item back up for sale if you don 't 
want it. 

Thank you for your bid, 

Marsha Collier 



Chapter 12: Providing Excellent Customer Service 2 1 7 



Leaving feedback for buyers 



Afteryou leave feedback, you can't take itback 
and you can't repost to correct an erroneous 
evaluation of another user. We know that leav- 
ing feedback after you receive payment is 
easier, but waiting to see how the transaction 
evolves afterwards is prudent — especially if the 
package gets lost in the post or the item is dam- 
aged, turning a previously kind and sweet buyer 
into a screaming nutcase. You should evaluate 
a buyer based on more than whetherthe person 
pays for an item. (Buyers are supposed to do 
that-it's a contract, remember?) When leaving 
feedbackfor buyers, consider the following: 



j"* Did they return your communications quickly? 

i^ Did they pay in a timely manner? 

J-" If a problem occurred with the item or in 
shipping, did they handle it in a decent 
manner or did they try to make your life a 
living hell? 

Rememberthatsellers are judged on communi- 
cation, shipping time, the quality of packaging, 
and friendliness. As a seller, you have the duty 
of leaving qualityfeedbackto set guidelines that 
all sellers use to rate buyers. 



$.tfBEfl 




How firm you choose to get with a non-paying bidder is up to you. We've 
dealt with a few non-paying bidders on eBay but we've left only two negative 
feedbacks. Some people who tend to overbid are indeed violating the con- 
tract to buy but legitimate reasons may explain why someone hasn't fol- 
lowed through on an auction. You must decide how forceful you want to be 
and how far you want to stretch your karma (what goes around comes 
around). Assess each case individually and don't be hasty in leaving negative 
feedback until you know the whole story. 



The payment received and shipping notice 

We know that you probably aren't going to send out a payment-received 
letter for every transaction, but wouldn't it be nice if you did? Staying in con- 
stant communication with your buyers makes them feel more secure with 
you and with buying on eBay. You want buyers to come back, don't you? 

When you receive payment and are ready to ship, sending a short note like 
the following helps to instil loyalty in your customer: 

Hi there (Insert name of winner) 



Your payment was received, and your item will ship tomorrow. Please e-mail me 
when it arrives so that I can hear how pleased you are with your purchase. 



218 P art '" : Serious Business! 



When the transaction is over, I hope you will leave positive feedback for me 
because building a good reputation on eBay is very important. I'd really appreci- 
ate it, and I'll be glad to do the same for you. 

Thank you for bidding & winning, 

Marshajz 
Marsha Collier 

www. coolebaytools . com 

If you haven't heard from the buyer within a week, send another note. 



The your item is on its Way' e-mail 

We always send out the automatic e-mail from DHL or Parcel Force announc- 
ing the shipment tracking number. You can also send out an e-mail from 
PayPal by inserting the tracking number into the PayPal payment record. 
These e-mails aren't very personalised, so we follow up with another, more 
personal note: 

Subject: Your book is on the way! 

Hi (insert buyer's name) 

You will be receiving another e-mail with the package 's delivery confirmation 
number and information on the mode of shipment. 

Thank you for buying my item. If there is any question when the package 
arrives, PLEASE e-mail me immediately. Your satisfaction is my goal, and I'm 
sure any problem can be easily taken care of. Please let me know when the 
package arrives so that we can exchange some very positive feedback! 

Marsha Collier 

www. coolebaytools . com 

Good customer service gets you many repeat customers and loads of posi- 
tive feedback. Good communication can head off problems before they start. 
If your customers receive running communication from you throughout your 
transactions, they're more likely to discuss a glitch than make a knee-jerk 
reaction and leave negative feedback. 



Chapter 13 

Money Matters 



In This Chapter 

Finding the payment method that suits your needs 
Discovering the ins and outs of payment services 
Exploring merchant accounts 



7 he hours you spend selecting your items, photographing them, touching 
up the pictures, and writing brilliant auction copy all come down to one 
thing: getting paid. Initially, you may be happy to take any form of payment, 
but as you become more experienced and collect for more auctions, you can 
decide which payment methods you prefer and which are more heartache 
than they're worth. 

Receiving and processing payments takes time and patience. The more pay- 
ment methods that you accept, the more information you have to keep track 
of. Throughout this chapter, we detail the various payment options (including 
how to handle payment from international buyers) and how each affects your 
business. 



Biq Deals Only: Banker's Draft 

Banker's drafts commonly come into play with big transactions - like when 
you put down a deposit on a house - so they may not be the most convenient 
way to pay, but they are secure and give peace of mind. 



220 



Part III: Serious Business! 



A banker's draft is an 'instant cheque' that the payee's bank makes out - so 
you know he or she has the funds available to pay for the item, unlike a 
normal cheque that has to clear. 

A bank charges for drawing up a banker's draft, as does PayPal. Unlike 
PayPal, however, the bank charges the buyer, not the seller. The bank fees are 
very steep, so give people more than just this option to pay. 



Sign on the Line: Cheque 
and Postal Order 



^\NG/ 




Another useful addition to your payment offering, cheques give both parties 
in the transaction peace of mind. Cheques can be cancelled and traced to an 
address if things go wrong on either side of the arrangement - although the 
payee may incur a fee for cancelling payment. 

For the buyer, cheques also give proof of payment and are covered by 
eBayco.uk's Buyer Protection Programme. Cheques are particularly good for 
big payments and can be offered alongside Paypal or debit card options to 
give your customers some flexibility. 

Like cheques, postal orders are traceable to an address, but they can also be 
easily bought and sold at your local post office and are available regardless of 
whether you have a bank account. 



Accepting cash payments 



We're sure you've received cash from some of 
your winners. We don't like cash. If the buyer 
doesn't send the exact amount due, you have to 
call the buyer, who may claim that the correct 
amount should be there. Post can be stolen. All 
of a sudden, youmusthave lost the difference - 
and you have no recourse with cash. 

Postal inspectors are constantly battling this 
problem, but you won't know your post is being 



stolen until you've missed enough letters - 
usually bills and outgoing cheques. Explaining 
to a buyer that the money never arrived is diffi- 
cult. The thief has the cash while your reputa- 
tion may be shot. You can e-mail, phone, and 
talk and discuss, but the bottom line is thatyou 
haven't received your money and the buyer 
insists you have it. 



Chapter 13: Money Matters ^2 7 



Hold This for Me: Escrow Service 

Escrow.com (eBay's official escrow service, which works for both US and UK 
customers) can make a buyer feel more comfortable proceeding with transac- 
tions of higher value purchases. By using escrow, buyers gain peace of mind 
because they know the transaction will be completed securely and easily. 

You or your buyer must register to use the Escrow.com service. When you 
want to offer escrow as a payment option in one of your auctions, be sure to 
indicate as much on the Sell Your Item form so that it appears on the auction 
page. After the auction, the seller should initiate the escrow by going to 
www . escrow . com. To proceed with escrow, the buyer must send payment to 
Escrow.com (see Figure 13-1). Escrow.com accepts all credit cards, banker's 
drafts, wire transfers, and personal or business cheques. A cheque is subject 
to a 10-day delay. 



Figure 13-1: 

Starting 

an escrow 

with 

Escrow. 

com. 











£ 


the e-commerce solution 




•scrow! 




l^ 


» — "* /» i»» jmw 


H» yip oMnrCan rs $n„„„ 








i* • m 11 


v T. 


Tub Buyer and Setter teach an sgreeatenl, 


^^Sa/e 


■: 2. 


The Buyor transfers ttm payment to E'sewtv' 


Escrow! isthe safest wav to buy and sell on-line. The Buyer checte the quality 
of the merchandise before autoiirjing th ; cav'.a-i. w-i sUqmt the Seller!"! 


. 3. 


T7jp S&iler ships fire mBrsfia/Kfise, 


^^^ Convenient 


4. 


The Buyer eijra.^v-f sin! approves ttts niGrchoti(Ji$a 


Escrow! allows the Sellers lo accept, with an average cisl. payment by credit 


5. 


Escrpwl transfers lite payment Co Ihs SbM/v 


f^B| Flexible 


1 m 


iiiio ... 


t adapts to the eliem? requirem* r,ts. gwuntsiinj that ih = seller aM the 
■uyei can work on- lire or. tnt terms at,-: c:)r.di!ior.s nftt.ti' transactions ir a 
clear and efficient way. 




« An 


EscrowEuropasrl service Sen-ice T 5r ™ F 


"Q INFO SEARCH UELF J MAP MEMEERS REGISTRATION 







After the buyer makes the payment, Escrow.com asks the seller to ship the 
item to the buyer. When the buyer receives the merchandise, the inspection 
period begins promptly at 12:01 a.m. the next weekday and continues for a 
time previously set by the buyer and seller. 

The buyer notifies Escrow.com that the merchandise is approved, and then 
Escrow.com releases payment to the seller. If the buyer doesn't feel that the 
merchandise is what he or she ordered, the buyer must return the item to the 
seller in its original condition, adhering to the Escrow.com shipping require- 
ments. The buyer must also log on to the Web site to input return shipping 
information. 



222 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Helping your buyers buy safely 



To give your customers a bit more confidence 
when they buy from you, why not apply for an 
accreditation from SafeBuy? The SafeBuy 
Assurance Scheme is operated bythe Software 
Research Ltd, and is endorsed by TrustUK, the 
people that set up Which? Displaying the seal 
gives customers assurance that you are gen- 
uine and safe to deal with. 

To be eligible for the SafeBuy seal, you must 
pass a rigorous test to ensure that you're a solid 



seller: You adhere to the Sale of Goods Act and 
the Data Protection Act, you won't use spam for 
marketing purposes, you don't exploit people, 
and so on. 

An annual subscription to the SafeBuy 
Assurance Scheme costs £69, which seems like 
a lot, but it may make a big difference if you're 
selling lots of stock on eBay.co.uk. 



In the event of a return, the seller has the same inspection period to ensure 
that the item was returned in its original condition. After condition is con- 
firmed, Escrow.com will refund the buyer (less the escrow fee and, if agreed 
on ahead of time, the shipping fee). Either the buyer or the seller can pay the 
escrow fee; the two can even split the cost. But you need to decide who will 
pay the fee up front and indicate this in your auction listing. The buyer is 
responsible for paying the escrow fee for all returns, no matter who had ini- 
tially agreed to pay the fees. 

Table 13-1 includes a listing of the escrow fees. (Credit cards are not accepted 
for payments of more than $7,500.00.) The fees are listed in dollars because 
Escrow.com is a US service, but you can find the cost in pounds by doing an 
online currency conversion - www . xe . com has a good conversion tool. 



Table 13-1 


Escrow. 


com Escrow Fees 




Transaction Amount 


Cheque or 
Money Order 


Credit Card 


Wire Transfer 


Up to $1500.00 


$22.00 + 0.5% 


$22.00 + 3.0% 


$37.00 + 0.5% 


$1500.01 -$7,500.00 


2% 


4.5% 


$15.00 + 2.0% 


$7,500.01 -$20,000.00 


1.75% 


n/a 


$15.00 + 1.75% 


Over $20,0000.01 


1.5% 


n/a 


$15.00 + 1.5% 



Chapter 13: Money Matters 223 



J»NG/ 




Sadly, scams involving escrow services are beginning to crop up on the 
Internet. Unscrupulous sellers set up fake escrow sites, sell a load of high 
value items on eBay to unsuspecting buyers, and then direct the buyers to 
the faux escrow Web site to set up their escrow. The buyers send their money 
(thinking the transaction is safe). After the fraudulent seller collects a stack 
of money, they shut down the Web site and abscond with it! Some buyers are 
reluctant to use escrow to pay for expensive items. Check out this link to the 
eBay.co.uk help page for more information 

pages . ebay . co . uk/help/ community/ escrow. html 



1 Take Plastic: Credit Cards 

As people become more comfortable with using credit cards on the Internet, 
so they become more popular for eBay.co.uk payments. Plus, major credit 
card payment services insure eBay payments to registered users, making 
credit cards safe for the buyer and easy for you. Credit card transactions are 
instantaneous; you don't have to wait for a piece of paper to travel cross- 
country. 

For all this instantaneous money transfer, however, you pay a price. Whether 
you have your own merchant account (a credit card acceptance account in 
the name of your business) or take credit cards through a payment service 
(more on this just below), you pay a fee. Your fees can range from 2 per cent 
to 7 per cent, depending on how you plan to accept cards and which ones 
you accept. 

A downside of accepting credit cards for your online sales exists. To protect 
yourself, please be sure to check the feedback - both feedback they've 
received and feedback they've left - of all bidders before accepting any form 
of credit card payment for a big-ticket item. Some buyers are chronic com- 
plainers and are rarely pleased with their purchases. A buyer may not be 
satisfied with your item after it ships and can simply call their credit card 
company and get credit for the payment; you'll be charged back (your 
account will be debited) the amount of the sale. (See the 'Forget the buyer: 
Seller beware!' sidebar in this chapter.) 



jttNG/ 




Credit card payment services 

Person-to-person payment systems, such as eBay.co.uk's PayPal, allow 
buyers to authorise payments from their credit card or current accounts 
directly to the seller. These services make money by charging percentages 
and fees for each transaction. The transaction occurs electronically through 
an automated clearinghouse. The payment service releases to the seller only 
the buyer's shipping information; all personal credit card information is kept 



221) 



Part III: Serious Business! 



private. A person-to-person payment service transaction speeds up the time 
it takes the buyer to get merchandise because sellers are free to ship as soon 
as the service lets them know that the buyer has made payment and the pay- 
ment has been processed. 

From the seller's point of view, person-to-person payment service transaction 
fees are lower than the 2.5 to 3.5 per cent (per transaction) that traditional 
credit card companies charge for merchant accounts (get the details in the 
'Your very own merchant account' section, later in this chapter). Even tradi- 
tional retailers may switch their online business to these services to save 
money. In this section, we discuss the top payment services and how each 
works. 



Forget the buyer: Seller beware! 



When buyers dispute a sale, they can simply call 
PayPal or their credit card company and refuse 
to payforthe item. You lose the sale and possibly 
won't be able to retrieve your merchandise. A 
payment service or merchant account will then 
chargeback your account without contacting 
you and without negotiating. Technically, the 
buyer has made the purchase from the payment 
service - not from you - and the payment service 
won't defend you. We've heard of chargebacks 
occurring as long as six months after the trans- 
action, although eBay.co.uk says they can occur 
no later than 60 days after they sent you the first 
bill on which the transaction or error appeared. 
No one is forcing the buyer to ship the merchan- 
dise backto you. Just like eBay Fraud Protection 
(see Chapter 3), the credit card companies skew 
the rules to defend the consumer. As the seller, 
you have to fend for yourself. See Chapter 4 on 
how to report fraudulent buyers. You usually 
have no way to verify that the shipping address 
is the one the credit card bills to. So, to add to 
your problems, the card may actually be stolen. 

PayPal confirms through AVS (Address Veri- 
fication Service) that the buyer's credit card 
billing address matches the shipping address 



and gives you the option to not accept payments 
from buyers whose addresses don't match. 
PayPal offers seller protection against spurious 
chargebacks underthe following circumstances: 

i^ Fraudulent card use 

j«* False claims of non-delivery 

See the section on PayPal for more details on 
how to be covered by seller protection. 

If the issuing bank resolves a chargeback in the 
buyer's favour, PayPal charges you a fee if 
you're found to be atfault, but will waive the fee 
if you meet all the requirements of the PayPal 
Seller Protection policy. 

Major credit card companies are now trying to 
curb online fraud for their merchant accounts. 
Visa has the new Verified by Visa acceptance, 
which takes buyers to a Visa screen (through 
software installed on the merchant's server) and 
verifies their identity through a Visa-only pass- 
word. MasterCard uses SET (Secure Electronic 
Transactions), a similar encrypted transaction 
verification scheme. These systems are expected 
to substantially reduce fraud and chargebacks. 



Chapter 13: Money Matters 22,2 




*J*BE* 




Before you decide which credit card payment service to use, get out your cal- 
culator and check their Web sites for current rates. Calculate your own esti- 
mates; don't rely on a site's advertised samples. We've found that the charts 
on the Web tend to leave out certain minor fees. We've also found that com- 
parison charts quoting the competition's prices tend to include optional fees. 
Beware — and do your own maths. 

When you pay the fee to your payment service, realise that the total amount 
of your transaction - including shipping fees and handling charges - incurs a 
fee. The payment service charges a percentage based on the total amount 
running through its system. 



An East} Way to Pay: PayPal 



According to eBay.co.uk, nine in ten sellers offer PayPal as a payment option 
for customers, and you can see why - it provides a secure, tried, and tested 
way of sending and receiving money for items. eBay also own the company 
that runs this service - a fair endorsement, we think you'll agree. 

Using PayPal is quicker than a cheque or postal order, the system is inte- 
grated into eBay, no set up or monthly fees exist, and you can get help round 
the clock by calling 08707 307 191. On the minus side, PayPal creams off a 
small amount of money from your auction when you receive payment. 

Other PayPal benefits that eBay.co.uk cites include: 



W Sellers don't see buyers' credit card details (they're encrypted through 
PayPal's system), which limits the risk of unauthorised use. 

J-" PayPal's Buyer Protection Programme covers items up to S500 if they are 
lost, stolen or damaged. 

J-" PayPal can track payments and knows to whom they are sent. 

J-" Payment is deposited directly into the seller's account. 

PayPal (see Figure 13-2) allows buyers to safely click and pay with a credit 
card or e-cheque directly from eBay after they win an auction or make a pur- 
chase. PayPal is conveniently integrated into all eBay transactions. If your 
auction uses the Buy It Now feature or is a fixed-price listing, buyers can pay 
for their purchases immediately with PayPal payments. 



22 Part III: Serious Business! 



Figure 13-2: 

The 
PayPal.com 
home page. 



££££87" 



Sign Up | Log In I Help 








PayPal Is the global leadi 



Way to Pay 

i (n online payments. Find out mans 



Without 

Sharir 



armg 



Buyers 



Send money to anyone 

with an email address. 



Sending a typical 
payment with PayPal 



against unauthorised 
payments. 



eBay Sellers 



Free eBay to ols make 
selling easier. 

PayPal works hard to 
help :" •, i er.t sellers . 

Pa/Pal makes 

international trading 
simple, 




Accept credit and debit 
cards on your website. 



Free merchant tools 
help i_iraw your 



llivv fees make PayPal 
the affordable choice. 



I,: I, ,.,.-., , 

Gel &afei',-,ii,-,i 



Enterprise Solutions 



What's New 

PayPal is always 



To accept credit card payments, you must have a premier or business level 
account. Buyers may join when they win their first auction and want to pay 
with PayPal, or they can go to www. PayPal . com and sign up. The situation is 
slightly different for the seller. You need to set up your PayPal account before 
you choose to accept it in your auctions or sales. 

Here are more than a few particulars about PayPal accounts: 



is* Auction payments are deposited into your PayPal account. Choose one 
of several ways to get your money: 

• Have the money transferred directly into your registered current 
account. 

• Keep the money in your PayPal account for making payments to 
other sellers. 

p" You get your own profile page when you sign up to PayPal (see Figure 
13-3) - you can edit account details and general information about what 
cards you use, view eBay.co.uk auction accounts, and even check your 
time zone. 

is" As a seller with a premier or business account, you can choose to accept 
or deny a payment without a confirmed address. A confirmed address 
means that the ship to address indicated by the buyer is the same as the 
billing address on the credit card the buyer chose to register with 
PayPal. On the accept or deny page, information about the buyer is 
shown, including verification status, account creation date, and partici- 
pation number. 



Chapter 13: Money Matters 22/ 



Figure 13-3: 

The PayPal 

Member 

profile page. 



emiM 



Log Out | Help 



| Profile | 


Profile Summary 


To edit your" Profile informal 


on, please click on a link below. 
Financial Information 




Account Information 


Selling Preferences 


Email 


Credit cards 


Auctions 


Postal Address 


Bank Accounts 


Seller Eliaibilitv for PavPal 


'hone 


■in ; : : 3 3 •:-?. 


Buver Protection 






. . t t i . :'t . 


Notification; 


Points 


Lanauaae Er 


■ 


Preaooroved Payments 




Close Account 






Mass Pay | Referrals | Abou 
-eement 1 Devel 


Us 1 Account Tvoes 1 Fees 1 Privacy 
ners 1 Gift Vouchers/Point; 1 Buyer P 


Security Centre 1 Contact Us 
| 




PavPal. an eBav comrjanv 




Copy 
ayPal (Europe) Ltd. is 


ght © 1999-2005 PayPal. All rights re 


in the United Kingdom as 



PayPal FSA Pec 



v* PayPal sometimes fines sellers for chargebacks - the fine is calculated in 
euros but is about S7.50, - or it can retain the value of the chargeback 
from your PayPal account. 



Look at Table 13-2 for more information about PayPal fees. 



Table 13-2 


PayPal Fees 


Action/Activity 


Personal Account Premier/Business Account 


Open an account 


Free Free 


Send money 


Free Free 



Withdraw funds 



Free for £50.00 or more, 
£0.25 for £49.99 or less to 
bank accounts in the UK 



Add funds 


Free 


Free 


Receive funds 


Free 


1.9% + £0.20 to 3.4% +£0.20 


Multiple currency 
transactions 


Exchange rate includes a 
2.5% fee 


Exchange rate includes a 
2.5% fee 



228 



Part III: Serious Business! 




A brilliant feature of PayPal is the ability to download your sales and deposit 
history to your computer. Although PayPal also offers files that integrate with 
QuickBooks (more on QuickBooks in Chapter 16), the standard downloads 
are feature-rich. Rather than importing just sales figures, you see each and 
every detail of your transaction - dates, names, addresses, phone numbers, 
amounts, and more. Even fees and taxes are broken down separately, making 
bookkeeping a breeze. The download imports into Microsoft Works and 
Excel. Downloading your history can help you calculate income taxes and 
VAT, reconcile your accounts, predict sales trends, calculate total revenues, 
and perform other financial reporting tasks. Downloaded sales and deposit 
histories also give you an excellent customer database. 

The deposits download gives you detailed information for all the deposits 
that you receive: payments, PayPal transaction and deposit fees, refunds, 
rebates, and any adjustments made to your account. 

Follow these steps to download your sales and deposit histories: 

1. On your PayPal Main Overview page, click the History tab. 

2. Click the Download My Histor y link, on the right side of the page. 

3. Enter the time span and the file format for the information that you 
want to view. 

4. Click the Download History button. 

The information appears on the screen. Or, if the servers are busy, you'll 
receive an e-mail (usually in a minute or two) when the reports are 
ready. 

5. Save the file in a directory that you can conveniently access for 
bookkeeping. 

You can just double-click the file to open it in Excel or Works. You now have 
all the information you could possibly need to apply to your bookkeeping 
program. 

Registering With PayPal 

If you aren't registered with PayPal yet, use the convenient Selling link on 
the All Selling page, which you reach from your My eBay page. To get more 
information, just click the PayPal related link to arrive at the PayPal Seller 
Overview page (see Figure 13-4), and then click the Sign Up button to begin 
registration. The registration form in Figure 13-5 appears. Type in what 
country you're from, fill in the basic required information, and you're in. 



Chapter 13: Money Matters 22 y 



Figure 13-4: 

The PayPal 

Seller 

Overview 

page. 



U£$M' 



Activate Account Personal Account Overview 

E) Get Verified j 



Enhance Account 



Name: Dan Matthews 

Email: .1-. Ii .. sonb 

Status: UK - Unverified 



i. Li. 



What's New 



Pal fEuropel : 
Ltd User Agreement 



Community Page 
Security Tips 
Policy Update; 

- 30/11/2005 



Log Out | H9lp 



Recent Activity | A 


Activity 1 Iten 


s Wo 


«*v 




Your Recent Activity disp 


ays the last? day 


s of ac 


count act 


vitv. 


-No Mew Items- 



I I 

PayPalj an eBay company 



Figure 13-5: 

The new 

seller 

registration 

page. 



££££&7" 



Log In | Help 

Confirm -» Done 



Sign Up for a PayPal Account 



Anyone with an email address can use PayPal to send and 
receive money online. What is PayPal? 



Already have a 
PayPal account? 

if i 1 ... . 



C? Personal Account 

Idea! for online shopping, Send and receive payments 
through PayPal's secure network. Personal accounts 
cannot accept debit or credit card payments, earn more 
C Premier Account 

Perfect for buying and selling on eBay or merchant 
websites. Accept all payment types for -ow fees. Do 

r Business Account 

The right choice for your online business. Accept all 
payment types for . Do business under a company 

or group name. Learn more 



Select the country or region ivhere you liv 

[United Kinqdom ^| 



The convenience of PayPal integration into the eBay site shines when your 
item is purchased. Winners just click a Pay Now button that pops up on your 
auction page immediately after the listing closes. When you list auctions, you 
pre-set the shipping and handling charges that appear in the shipping box at 



230 



Part III: Serious Business! 






the bottom of the page. When winners click the Pay Now button, they're 
taken directly to a payment page set up with your information. The process is 
as easy as purchasing something through Buy It Now. 

When a purchase is made and the payment is deposited in your PayPal 
account, the system holds the money until you choose how you want to with- 
draw it. 

PayPal accepts payments from 42 countries. For a current list of countries from 
which PayPal accepts payments, sign on to your PayPal account and go to 

www.paypal . com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-approved- 
signup-countries 

Because credit card and identity theft is so prevalent on the Internet, PayPal 
uses the extra security measure provided by Visa and MasterCard called 
CVV2. Most credit cards have three additional numbers listed on the back, 
immediately following the regular 16-digit number. Merchants use these num- 
bers for security or verification but aren't allowed to store them, so they're 
presumably protected from hackers. 

Withdraw your funds from the PayPal account on a regular basis; you need 
that money to operate your business. Don't let this account become a tempo- 
rary savings account - unless you choose the PayPal interest-bearing 
account (check out www. PayPal . com for more details). 



\lour Very own merchant account 

If your eBay.co.uk business is bringing in more than £10,000 a month, a credit 
card merchant account may be for you. At that level of sales, discounts kick 
in and your credit card processing becomes a savings to your business rather 
than an expense. Before setting up a merchant account, however, look at the 
costs carefully. Charges buried in the small print make fees hard to calculate 
and even harder to compare. Even those credit card companies who adver- 
tise low fees often don't deliver. Look at the entire picture before you sign a 
contract. 

Your own bank may be the best place to begin looking for a merchant 
account: They know you, your credit history, and your business reputation 
and have a stake in the success of your business. Build good credit before 
pursuing a merchant account because your credit rating is your feedback to 
the offline world. 

If your bank doesn't offer merchant accounts for Internet-based businesses, 
find a broker to evaluate your credit history and hook you up with a bank 
that fits your needs and business style. These brokers make their money 



Chapter 13: Money Matters ^3 / 



from your application fee, from a finder's fee from the bank that you finally 
choose, or both. 

After you get a bank, you are connected to a processor, or transaction clear- 
inghouse. Your bank merely handles the banking; the clearinghouse is on the 
other end of your Internet connection when you're processing transactions, 
checking whether the credit card you're taking is valid and not stolen or 
already up to the limit. 

Table 13-3 highlights various possible costs associated with setting up and 
maintaining a merchant account. 



Table 13-3 Possible Internet Merchant Account Fees 


Fee 


Average Amount 


Set-up fee 


£10-£150 


Monthly processing fee to bank 


2.5% (1.5% -5%) 


Fee per transaction 


10p-30p 


Processor's fee per transaction 


20p - 40p 


Internet discount rate 


2% -4% 


Monthly statement fees 


£5-£10 


Monthly minimum processing fee 


£10 -£20 


Gateway processing monthly fee 


£10 -£20 


Application fees 


£25 -£300 


Software purchase 


£200 -£500 


Software lease 


£20 per month 


Chargebackfee 


£10.00 



Remember that some merchant accounts will charge you some of these fees 
and others may have a load of little snipes at your wallet. In the following list, 
we define some of the fees in Table 13-3: 

p" Set-up fee: A one-time cost that you pay to either your bank or to your 
broker. 

(-" Discount rate: A percentage of the transaction amount (a discount from 
your earnings), taken off the top along with the transaction fee before 
the money is deposited into your account. 



232 



Part III: Serious Business! 



»A\NG. 




v* Transaction fee: A fee per transaction paid to the bank or to your gate- 
way for the network. 

J-" Gateway or processing fee: Your fee for processing credit cards in real 
time paid to the Internet gateway. 

J-" Application fee: A one-time fee that goes to the broker or perhaps to the 
bank. 

v* Monthly minimum processing fee: If your bank's cut of your purchases 
doesn't add up to this amount, the bank takes it anyway. For example, if 
your bank charges a minimum monthly fee of S20 and you don't hit S20 
in fees because your sales aren't high enough, the bank charges you the 
difference. 

If you're comfortable with all the information in the preceding list and 
in Table 13-3, and you're looking for a broker, heed our advice and read 
everything a broker offers carefully. Don't miss any hidden costs. 



The VeriSign Payment Services 

If you have less than 1000 transactions a month through eBay.co.uk and your 
Web site, you may want to check out some of the services from VeriSign, a 
publicly-traded company and the world's largest Internet trust service. A 
respected world-class company and the leader in its field, VeriSign offers 
gateway services at a reasonable price. 

To participate in VeriSign's gateway services, you must first sign up for a 
merchant account from your bank, PayPal, or by applying through preferred 
Merchant Account providers. The VeriSign service picks it up from there. You 
can integrate the service directly into your Web site. When you send out your 
winner's congratulatory letter, include a link to the page on your site that 
links to VeriSign. When your orders are submitted to VeriSign for processing, 
both you and your customer receive a transaction receipt acknowledgement 
through e-mail when the transaction has been processed. VeriSign processes 
your transactions while you're online. 



Visit www. verisign. co . uk/ index. html for more details. 



Chapter 14 

Delivering on 
Your Promise 



In This Chapter 

Examining shipping options and costs 
Choosing Royal Mail as your carrier 
Shipping with Parcel2go 
Transporting with e-parcels 



§My e think the best part of eBay.co.uk is making the sale and receiving 
▼ ▼ payment. After that part of the transaction comes the depressing and 
tedious process of fulfilling your orders. Don't feel bad if this is the point that 
makes you take pause and sigh. Order fulfilment is one of the biggest prob- 
lems (and yuckiest chores) that faces any mail order or online enterprise. 
The onerous task of packing and mailing is the bane of almost all businesses. 

But as an eBay businessperson, you must attend to these tasks, however 
much you'd rather not. So in Chapter 17, we detail what you need for packing 
(boxes, bubble wrap, and so on) and some options for purchasing online 
postage. And in this chapter, we explain just how your items can get to their 
destinations, exploring your shipping options, costs, and insurance coverage 
along the way. 



Finding the Perfect Shipping Carrier 

When considering shipping options, you first need to determine what types 
of packages you generally send (small packages that weigh less than two 
pounds or large and bulky packages) and then decide how you want to send 
your items. Planning your shipping method before you list the item on 
eBay.co.uk is a good idea. 



23d 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Shipping the BIG stuff! 



In the US, www. f reightquote . com nego- 
tiates rates with several major freight for- 
warders. Before attempting to sell a heavy item, 
you can sign onto this Web site with the weight 
and dimensions of your shipment, and it gives 



you a free quote on the spot. The UK version of 
the service is under construction at the time of 
writing, but look for www. f reightquote. 
co . uk in the near future. 



Deciding on your carrier can be the most important decision in your eBay 
business. You need to decide which carrier is more convenient for you (close 
to your home base, provides pick-up service, gives better customer service) 
and which is the most economical (leverages your bottom line). Most eBay 
sellers send packages using ground service rather than airmail or overnight, 
but a shipper who can give you both options may be offering you a good deal 
because you don't have to deal with more than one vendor. 

Settling on one main shipper to meet most of your needs is important 
because all your records will be on one statement. You may also need a sec- 
ondary shipper for special types of packages. One shipper can't be every- 
thing to every business, so having an account with more than one can be to 
your advantage. Also, shippers may not sign up new accounts as readily in 
the middle of a strike or work slowdown. 

In this section, we give you the low-down on the two major carriers - Royal 
Mail and Parcel2go (backed by DHL), as well as a small online service called 
www. e-parcels .co.uk Parcel2go and e-parcels. co.uk are run specifically 
for eBay.co.uk users, so you can see who fits your requirements. However, 
e-parcels. co.uk only delivers packages up to 30kgs; for bigger deliveries, visit 
its sister site www . del iverebay . co . uk. For a summary of shipping costs 
from these three carriers, see Table 14-1. 

Delivery costs vary according to the size and weight of the parcel, as well as 
where you're sending it and how quickly you want it to get there. Compare 
prices - remember that these vary according to the parcel's vital statistics. 
Table 14-1 offers a general price guide. 



Table 14.1 Sample Shippi 


ng 


Costs within 


the UK 


Delivery Service 


400g 




600g 


800g 


DHL Parcel2go 3-Day Delivery 


£8.99 + VAT 




£8.99 + VAT 


£8.99 + VAT 


DHL Parcel2go Jiffy Bag* 


£6.99 + VAT 




£6.99 + VAT 


£6.99 + VAT 


Royal Mail Second Class 


£1.14 




£1.75 


£2.90 



Chapter 14: Delivering on Your Promise 2j3 



Delivery Service 


400g 


600g 


800g 


Royal Mail First Class 


£1.40 


£2.15 


£3.36 


e-parcels. co.uk 48-Hour 
Delivery 


£9.75 


£9.75 


£9.75 


e-parcels. co.uk Next 
Day Delivery 


£10.45 


£10.45 


£10.45 



* Size restrictions apply to this service. 



Royal Mail 



Royal Mail is the most recognised letter deliverer in the UK, and the company 
also has a pretty nifty (and cost-effective) parcel delivery service. You can 
pay for your postage online, receive a discount for sorting packets yourself, 
and even find out someone's postcode through the Royal Mail Web site (see 
Figure 14-1). 

The biggest benefit, however, is that Royal Mail costs a lot less than many of 
its rivals - as you can see in Table 14-1. However, as parcels get bigger, the 
cost difference is less obvious, so compare before you send! Check out 

www. royalmail . com for more info. 



Figure 14-1: 

Royal Mail's 
homepage. 





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p VU "i, i 


lEfflE^MHSEl H 






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trite i vour 1 3 dmit reference number: 




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service is decerned to ensure that your 


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deliver il as promptly as possible 






| Track it O | 




To find or check a postcode 




Ciisreiiiei Service 

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H:-i'.ii team is always happy 1o half]. 


jy . 






'■i.--:'.' rices for: 

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Roy.ilMailfni von 


Semi in h el i-ivt in.nl 


Working smqitei 


■- For advertisers and aaencies 


* Sendina uraenLandvalualJlemail 


Prinl your own postage with 


>Horne shoonirio 


■ Sendina standard mall 


SrriartSlalnc® 


> Forthe Government and health sectors 
' For cublishers 


> Sendina overseas mail 


Sendina ■ .-■■ ■,-:: i :r,es of.fnstl 
Manaalna ■ -■- :■■'■:>■ data 


> Information or oackino and Duslina 


Forsmsii businesses 


> Get a second address -' »■■■:"» 


Reach your customers with ■" 1 - K,i;t mail 
: Easy online docketing with tT-tq™ 


> Forvau at home 


Stirri];: IVjr CO^CliilO 

News jiiiI iiiforni.ili on 

- Oui Alices "Vi!i tie cii'isi^in-.irvoiiifl&ril 
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1 00 X 2nd class self- mi 
adhesive stamps £21 .DO 


00X1 st class self- 
adhesive stamps E3O.D0 " 





236 



Part III: Serious Business! 



The Royal Mail postal prices page (see Figure 14-2) allows you to pick the 
type of delivery service you require. Do you want insurance? Is the package 
so urgent that it must be there tomorrow? Do you want recorded delivery for 
extra peace of mind? Select the shipping options you want, check the costs, 
and you're on your way. 



Figure 14-2: 

The Royal 

Mail 

postage 

options 

page. 




} ^aviiKj far your mail 

> Mail advice 
'Receiving mail 

> Getting a response 
'Getting an 

oversells re^oonse 

> Sending medical 
sampl&s 



1 Create your i 
PPIinark 



>Mnil iiilvii'e 

Advice to make sure your mall gets 
there. Addressing, packaging snd 
more... 

Tor more click here > 

?Reterviiiijniail 

Get you. mail whatever harjpens. PO 



Select 


•I 


fWen do you want It to get there? 


| Select 


•I 


Do you want a .guaranteed service? 


| Select 


,,■ 




"-QTHr.lv irjrjL c 


brtrttttnp 


-. 


r--. J V_i:u l -. l n.lilrc,, nndtu 


e. o 


K-lal 'Takulsw, 


i» e 


TVirl & rmr=- 


ft B 


loolM toil Softs* MUmMm 


oo e 



A few fast facts about Royal Mail services: 



J-" You can print out your own labels for your packages and track all ship- 
ments online. 

k" The Smart Stamp service (stamps that you download from the Internet) 
enables you to prepare your parcel whenever you like and keep track of 
how much you spend on postage. 

j-" Send more packages and get bigger discounts. Royal Mail gives you 
money off bulk deliveries. Go to: www.royalmail.com/portal/ 
rm/jump2?mediald=400047&catld=400046 for more info. 



You can get lots of hints and tips on improving your postal experience 
by visiting 



www. royalmail . com/portal /rm/jump2?catld=4 0010 5&mediald= 
400120 



Chapter 14: Delivering on Your Promise ^3 7 



DHL Parcefyo 



Parcel2go is an online shipping specialist with a remit to provide affordable 
delivery services to small businesses like your eBay.co.uk shop. Parcel2go is 
backed by DHL - the monster courier service - giving you a bit more peace of 
mind that your stuff will turn up on time. The company's homepage is shown 
in Figure 14-3. 



Figure 14-3: 

The 

Parcel2go 

hub. 



Borne 

Packaging s ii| t|> lies. 
Import Services 
TiackYonr Paicel 
Daily Pickup Account 
Othei Irittii i nation 
New Services 
About Us 



Click Here for 

shortcut 

to our United States 

Website 



eb 



Super Shipping Centre - Online Payment & Shipping Solution 



deliver for CjS little a . 



Receive a 10% shipping discount 
when you insert a parce!2Go logo 
inlc your eBay auctions. CficK h( 

lor mort 



Rent vour own US Address 

lj Buy anything from a U.S. company 
2) Send it to your U.S. address 



Next Day 

Delivery 

(UK) 


2/3 Day 

Dftihrtni 

(UK) 


Next Day 

DeJivery 

Hlti 

£250 

Insuia nee 


Next Day 
Delivery. 
High Value 

C-O0O3 


Guaranteed 
Next Day 
Delivery 

v-i^i- iQairt) 


Jlfly Bag 

HaChaqe: 
[0*1 



international Delivery 
Inc. N. Ireland 



Specifically designed with eBay.co.uk in mind, Parcel2go features a small, 
manageable range of key services. Unlike Royal Mail, which has features 
coming out of its ears, Parcel2go offers just four options: Next Day Delivery, 
2- to 3-day Delivery, Jiffy Bag packages, and International Deliveries. These 
services are designed to keep costs down, but you can add insurance to next 
day deliveries. 

Prices range from S6.99 for standard Jiffy Bag delivery to S18.99 for high 
value goods that have to be there tomorrow morning. Remember to add on 
VAT when ordering. 



The service works very simply. You register to the Web site (www . parcel2go . 
com), fill in your delivery details, pay for delivery, and then the courier 
comes round and picks up your stuff. 



238 



Part III: Serious Business! 



A few fast facts about Parcel2go services: 



J-" You get a 10 per cent discount if you include a Parcel2go logo in your 
eBay.co.uk auctions. The service is available only in the UK. 

p" You can track your parcels in the UK, Europe, and across the world (see 
Figure 14-4). 

v* You can receive preferential rates if you send more than five parcels a 
day on average. 

J-" Parcel2go offers a flat fee for parcels under 25kg and adds on a sur- 
charge for bigger items. 

j-" Packages are insured up to the value of SI 00 as standard. 



Figure 14-4: 

The 

Parcel2go 

order page. 



►1 About Us 


r 








"■wxsa 


= 




»™ 




■ 

Step 1 Service Detail! 

j-tler without registering ^ ;y| 

! 

g in now: 






i«* 


.CO. UK 




l 


ju nave forgotten vour psjfwom pie-sse mci-. herF 

or- 

qli would like to register with Parcei2gu com then please click ■;■ ■ 




. .■■-■■.,■ ,: lately, preventing many instances cr r/topie waiting ff a ooiifjti-jn that ojnnot be n-jtle 

can review your transaction historvand lo.ik to providing repeat purchase djssaunte 





e-parcels. co.uk (see Figure 14-5) works in much the same way as 
Parcel2go.com - you select a shipping option and pay a fee, and then e- 
parcel.co.uk comes round and picks up your item. The fees and options 
offered by Parcel2go and e-parcels. co.uk vary, of course, so compare them. 

e-parcels. co.uk is an online parcel delivery 'broker'. The company works with 
carriers to provide deals for its customers. Once you book a delivery slot, 
your parcel is picked up between 10am and 6pm on the day of collection - so 
the service only works if you're in all day. The company offers a same day 
delivery service - the cut-off point is 11am. 



Chapter 14: Delivering on Your Promise ^3 • 



Figure 14-5: 

The 

e-parcels. 

co.uk 

homepage. 



PARCEL DELIVERY & COLLECTION 
OF PARCELS UP TO 30 KG 



www.e-parcels.co.uk 



P..TI eel Deliveries 

Welcome to www.e ijaic&ls.co.nR 

Tr.ickyoui Item 

Terms aiul Conditions 

Un usual Del iveries 

Contact Us 



PLEffigfd NOTE: 
DO HOT I OUT ACT US FOP, ft TIME OF 
'.-'.'LIU. H'.'H ftS WE ARE UNABLE TQ 

i'H'IVilhE VMIWirHTHI^IHF ■iRM^ri'-'H 

i,l : '-. own Iffl Wfl' .1 1 1 1$ 3DKC PER PARCEL. 
MAXIMUM DIMENSIONS OF ANY PAFU1 EL: l.!i 
MFIRES LONG WITH A GIRTH OF NO MORE 

IHANiiMETUES 

GIRTH IS LEN'.TH'IWK E HEH.HKT WK E 

WIDTH 

UUHfli* iB l! V.m n-iliiiil ". :, .StJUItllTj.' 









EASY TO BOOK ON 



England, Wales and parts of Scotland Excluding Highlands & Islands 



48 HOUI Delh/ery (ine £150 insurance! 
N&Xt Day Delfiffiry (inc. £130 insurance) 



€9.75 per 

€10.45 P 



Add 



NOOII Next Day DUlrVMy(inc £150 insurance) £12.45 per parcel Add 

10. 1111 Next DdV Delivery fine £130 insurance] £13.75 per parcel Add 

9 am Ne-xi Day DeTiwry line cim insurance] £15.75 per parcel Add 



;o Baskel 



Highlands & Islands of Scotland 

RATES FOR DELIVERIES TO THESE POSTCODE AREAS: Inuerne .< IV1-3«,4fl S52-54 Isle of 

Air in KA27. Isle of Cinna PH44. Isle of Coll PA7fr. Isle or Colon sav PA61. Isle of Curnbi ne 
KA.'S. MsJe of Eing PH42. I«le of Jm n PAW, I tie of Rhuni PH4J. I si* of Skye IV41-4'J.51 S55- 
5«.Wick S Thurso KW1-3iS 5-14 Oikney KW15-17, P ft is ley PAZO-49 * &?-77. Perth PH17 -^. 
PHJ0-41. PH49-50. Shetland Isles ZE1-3, Western Isles HS1. HS?-9 

Deliveiy fine f 150 insurance! Allow 2 £23.75 per parcel Add to Etaskei 

ilays 



Deliveiy fine £150 iirsuiancel Allow 3 £21.75 pi 
1 1 ays 



Add to Basket 



Northern Ireland, Isle of Man & Isles of Sxillv 



A few fast facts about e-parcels. co.uk services: 



j> The company's Web site enables you to book collection of your pack- 
ages, track deliveries, and contact customer services. 

j> The maximum weight and size of parcels you can ship is 30kgs. 

Maximum dimensions are 1.5 metres in length, and 3 metres girth. Girth 
here means length + (2 x width) + (2 x height). 

\^ www.deliverebay . co .uk, Parcel2go's sister Web site, deals with 
bigger parcels. 

j> Most of the UK is covered by the same flat rate, but deliveries to 
Northern Ireland, the Highlands of Scotland, and the Isles of Man and 
Scilly cost a bit more. 



2d 



Part III: Serious Business! 



Part IV 

Your eBay.co.uk 
Admin 



\t<urom.Aisi 



33E- 







In this part . . . 



Setting up your eBay.co.uk business as a real business 
entity involves some unpleasant paperwork, applying 
for licenses, organising, and record keeping. Even though 
you should discuss you issues with a professional, we fill 
in the blanks and get you started on the right track. We 
also provide a handy checklist of the items you need to 
run your business online, such as your legal status, book- 
keeping requirements, and software to automate shipping. 



Chapter 15 

Going Legit 



In This Chapter 

Deciding your business format 
Covering the legalities 



J-^usiness format? 'What's a business format?' you may ask. We hate to be 
^^the ones to tell you, but you can't just say, 'I'm in business,' and be in 
business. When you started selling on eBay.co.uk, maybe you were happy 
just adding a few pounds to your income. Now that the money is coming in 
faster, you have a few more details to attend to. Depending on how far you're 
going to take your business, you have to worry about taxes, bookkeeping, 
and possible ramifications down the line. 

We want to remind you that we're not lawyers or accountants. The facts we 
give you in this chapter are gleaned from what we've learned over the years. 
When you begin a formal business, involving a lawyer and an accountant is a 
smart move. At the very least, visit www . startups . co . uk, a great Web site 
that offers some excellent business startup advice and success stories. 

One of the first rules in the eBay.co.uk User Agreement reads '. . . your eBay 
account (including feedback) and User ID may not be transferred or sold to 
another party'. This rule means that if you begin your business on eBay.co.uk 
with another person, you need some kind of agreement up front about who 
gets the user ID in case of a sale. And if you sell your business, the person 
with the original ID needs to be involved actively with the new company - as 
the rules say, your feedback can never be transferred or sold. A new owner 
has to start a new account on eBay.co.uk with a new name - unless the princi- 
pal from the old company was contractually involved and was the actual 
eBay seller. 

To our knowledge, no one has tested this rule in court, and we bet you don't 
want to be the first to face eBay's top-notch lawyers. Know that this is the 
rule about feedback and User ID and plan for it. 




%(}(} Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



Types of Businesses 



jm 





Businesses come in several forms, from a sole trader all the way to a multina- 
tional corporation. However, a corporation designation isn't as scary as it 
may sound. Yes, Microsoft, IBM, and eBay are corporations, but so are many 
individuals running businesses. Each form of business has its plusses and 
minuses - and costs. We go over some of the fees involved in incorporating 
later in this chapter. For now, we detail the most common types of busi- 
nesses, which we encourage you to weigh carefully. 

Before embarking on any new business format, consult with a professional in 
the legal and financial fields. 



Sole trader 



If you're running your business by yourself part time or full time, you're a 
sole trader. A sole trader is the simplest form of business - nothing is easier 
or cheaper. Most people use this form of business when they're starting out. 
Many people then graduate to a more formal type of business as things get 
bigger. 

If a husband and wife file a joint tax return, they can run a business as a sole 
trader (but only one of you can be the proprietor). However, if both you and 
your spouse work equally in the business, running it as a partnership - with a 
written partnership agreement - is a much better idea. (See the next section, 
'Partnership', for more information.) A partnership protects you in case of 
your partner's death. In a sole proprietorship, the business ends with the 
death of the proprietor. If the business has been a sole proprietorship in your 
late spouse's name, you may be left out in the cold. 

While being in business adds a few expenses, you can deduct from your taxes 
many expenses relating to your business. As a sole trader you can run the 
business out of your personal bank account (although we don't advise doing 
so). The profits of your business are taxed directly as part of your own 
income tax. As a sole trader, you're at risk for the business liabilities. All out- 
standing debts are yours, and you could lose personal assets if you default. 

Also, you must consider the liability of the products you sell on eBay.co.uk. If 
you sell foodstuff, vitamins, or neutraceuticals (new age food supplements) 
that make someone ill, you may be personally liable for any court-awarded 
damages. If someone is hurt by something you sell, you may also be person- 
ally liable as the seller of the product. 



Chapter 15: Going Legit 2l}5 



Partnership 




A business involving two or more people can be a partnership. A general part- 
nership can be formed by an oral agreement. Each person in the partnership 
contributes capital or services and both share in the partnership's profits 
and losses. The income of a partnership is taxed to both partners, based on 
the percentage of the business that they own or upon the terms of a written 
agreement. 

Make sure that you can have a good working relationship with your partner: 
This type of business relationship has broken up many a friendship. Writing 
up a formal agreement when forming your eBay.co.uk business partnership is 
an excellent idea. This agreement is useful in solving any disputes that may 
occur over time. 

In your agreement, outline things such as 

v* How to divide the profits and losses 

i*" Compensation to each of you 

J-" Duties and responsibilities of each partner 

k" Restrictions of authority and spending 

j-" How disputes should be settled 

J-" What happens if the partnership dissolves 

J-" What happens to the partnership in case of death or disability 

One more important thing to remember: As a partner, you're jointly responsi- 
ble for the business liabilities and actions of the other person or people in 
your partnership - as well as your own. Again, this is a personal liability 
arrangement. You are both personally open to any lawsuits that come your 
way through the business. 

In most cases, one of the partners has to fill in a self-assessment tax form 
supplied by HM Revenue & Customs. 



Limited company 



A limited company is similar to a partnership, but also has many of the char- 
acteristics of a corporation. A limited company differs from a partnership 
mainly in that the liabilities of the company are not passed on to the owners. 
Unless you sign a personal guarantee for debt incurred, the owners are 



2^}v Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



responsible only to the total amount they have invested into the company. 
But all owners do have liability for the company's taxes. 

You need to put together an operating agreement, similar to the partnership 
agreement. This agreement also will help establish which members own what 
percentage of the company for tax purposes. 

A limited company has to pay corporation tax on its income and profits. In a 
limited company, the owners are responsible for working out how much tax 
the company needs to pay. A self-assessment form can be submitted to HM 
Revenue & Customs. 



Corporation 



A corporation has a life of its own: Its own name, its own bank account, and 
its own tax return. A corporation is a legal entity created for the sole purpose 
of doing business. One of the main problems a sole trader faces when incor- 
porating is realising that he or she can't help themselves to the assets of the 
business. Yes, a corporation can have only one owner: The shareholder(s). If 
you can understand that you can't write yourself a cheque from your corpo- 
ration, unless the cheque is for salary or for reimbursement of legitimate 
expenses, you may be able to face the responsibility of running your own 
corporation. 

As a corporation, several ways exist to avoid a big tax bill - investing profits 
back in to the business is one of them. If your business gets so big that tax 
becomes an issue (congratulations!), you almost certainly need an accoun- 
tant to deal with your company finances. For a quick guide to tax liabilities, 
however, see Table 15.1. 



Table 15-1 Corporation Tax Considerations 

Corporation Level of Profit on Which 2005/06 Rates & 

Tax Rate Rate Is Charged Allowances 

Starting rate On profits of £0- £10,000 0% (Note: from 1 April 2004, 

a minimum rate of 19% is 
charged when profits are 
distributed to non-company 
shareholders. The zero rate 
remains if profits are re- 
invested in the business.) 

Marginal starting On profits of £10,001 -£50,000 19% less relief. The relief is 
rate relief £50,000 minus the amount 



of profits multiplied by 
19/400. 



Chapter 15: Going Legit Jtll / 





Corporation 
Tax Rate 


Level of Profit on Which 
Rate Is Charged 


2005/06 Rates & 
Allowances 


Small companies' 
rate 


On profits of £50,001 -£300,000 


19% 


Marginal small 
companies' relief 


On profits of £300,001- 
£1,500,000 


30% less relief. The relief 
is £1,500,000 minus the 
amount of profits multiplied 
by 11/400. 


Main rate 


On profits of £1,500,001 
and above 


30% 



Often in small corporations, most of the profits are paid out in tax-deductible 
salaries and benefits. The most important benefit for a business is that any 
liabilities belong to the corporation. Your personal assets remain your own, 
because they have no part in the corporation. 



lokinq Care of Regulatory Details 

Here are some important words to make your life easier in the long run: Don't 
ignore regulatory details. Doing so may make life easier at the outset, but if 
your business is successful, one day your casual attitude will catch up with 
you. Ignorance is no excuse. To do business, you must comply with all the 
rules and regulations that are set up for your protection and benefit. We've 
included some major regulations in this section, but for a complete list go to 
www.businesslink.gov.uk - the government's business support service. 



Health & Safety 



You are legally obliged to create a safe environment when you create your 
eBay.co.uk office, especially if you have employees. The Health & Safety 
Executive says you must minimise occupational risk by giving regular breaks, 
providing training, and establishing safe work stations without the risk of 
tripping or slipping. 



Privacy taWs 



The Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive regulates the use of 
unsolicited e-mails (spam), text messages, and cookies (which store details 
about people coming to your Web site), so you can't spam people or send out 
marketing material without people's say-so. 



2uO Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



Product descriptions 



eBay.co.uk has its own rules about product descriptions. You must describe 
your items accurately and not add on any little fictitious details to help them 
sell ('this pair of shoes belonged to John Lennon', for example). This regula- 
tion is mirrored in UK law covering product descriptions. 



Online contracts 



Since 2002, all contracts written online are binding - that means bidding on 
eBay.co.uk, too. So if you offer something for sale and your offer is accepted, 
then you're legally obliged to come up with the goods - literally. 



Chapter 16 

Practising Safe and Smart 
Record-Keeping 



In This Chapter 

Understanding first things first: Bookkeeping basics 

Saving your records to save your bacon 

Finding bookkeeping software 

Using QuickBooks for your bookkeeping needs 



#^ookkeeping can be the most boring and time-consuming part of your 
^^job. You may feel that you just need to add your product costs, add 
your gross sales, and hey presto, you know where your business is. Sorry, not 
true. Did you add that roll of parcel tape you picked up at the supermarket 
today? Although it cost only 99p, that item is a business expense. How about 
the mileage driving back and forth from car boot sales and flea markets? The 
costs of those trips are expenses, too. We suspect that you're also not count- 
ing quite a few other 'small' items just like these in your expense column. 

Once you actually get into the task, you may enjoy posting your expenses 
and sales. Doing so gives you the opportunity to know exactly where your 
business is at any given moment. Using an easy software program increases 
the likelihood of your enjoying the bookkeeping process. In this chapter, we 
give you the low-down on the basics of bookkeeping, emphasise the impor- 
tance of keeping records in case HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) come 
calling, and explain why using QuickBooks is the smart software choice. This 
chapter is required reading. 



Keeping the Books: Basics 
That Get \lou Started 



Although posting bookkeeping can be boring, clicking a button to generate 
your tax information is a lot easier than manually going over pages of sales 



230 P art '^ : Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



information on a pad of paper. We like to use a software program to speed the 
process up, particularly QuickBooks (more about that in the later section 
'QuickBooks: Making Bookkeeping Simple'). 

You could use plain ol' paper and a pencil to keep your books; if doing so 
works for you, great. But even though bookkeeping by hand may work for you 
now, it definitely won't in the future. Entering all your information into a soft- 
ware program now - while your books may still be fairly simple to handle - 
can save you a lot of time and frustration in the future, when your eBay.co.uk 
business has grown beyond your wildest dreams and no amount of paper can 
keep it all straight and organised. We discuss alternative methods of book- 
keeping in the 'Bookkeeping Software' section. For now, we focus on the 
basics of bookkeeping. 

To effectively manage your business, you must keep track of all your 
expenses - down to the last roll of tape. You need to keep track of your inven- 
tory, how much you paid for the items, how much you paid in shipping, and 
how much you profited from your sales. If you use a van or the family car to 
pick up or deliver merchandise to the post office, keep track of this mileage 
as well. When you're running a business, you should account for every penny 
that goes in and out. 

Bookkeeping has irrefutable standards that are set by the Accounting 
Standards Board. Assets, liabilities, owner's equity, income, and expenses are 
standard terms used in all forms of accounting to define profit, loss, and the 
fiscal health of your business. 

Every time you process a transaction, two things happen: One account is 
credited while another receives a debit. To get more familiar with these terms 
(and those in the following list), see the definitions in the chart of accounts 
later in this chapter (in Table 16-1) and in Appendix A (a mini glossary we've 
included for your convenience). Depending on the type of account, the 
account's balance either increases or decreases. One account that increases 
while another decreases is called double-entry accounting; 

v* When you post an expense, the debit increases your expenses and 
decreases your bank account. 

v* When you purchase furniture or other assets, it increases your asset 
account and decreases your bank account. 

p" When you make a sale and make the deposit, it increases your bank 
account and decreases your accounts receivable. 

v* When you purchase inventory, it increases your inventory and decreases 
your bank account. 

f" When a portion of a sale includes VAT, it decreases your sales, and 
increases your sales tax account. 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping £0 1 



Manually performing double-entry accounting can be a bit taxing (no pun 
intended). A software program automatically adjusts the accounts when you 
input a transaction. 

As a business owner, even if you're a sole trader (see Chapter 15 for informa- 
tion on business types), you should keep your business books separate from 
your personal expenses. (We recommend using a program such as Quicken to 
keep track of your personal expenses for tax time.) By isolating the business 
records from the personal records, you can get a snapshot of what areas of 
your sales are doing well and which ones aren't carrying their weight. But 
that isn't the only reason keeping accurate records is smart; there's HM 
Revenue and Customs to think about, too. In the next section, we explain Her 
Majesty's interest in your books. 



Records Her Majesty May Want to See 

To help you get started with your business, the Department of Trade and 
Industry maintains a small business Web site (shown in Figure 16-1) at the fol- 
lowing address: 

www. business link. gov.uk 



^B£/? 




In this section, we highlight what information you need to keep and how long 
you should keep it (just in case you're chosen for an audit). 



Hiring a professional to do your year-end taxes 



When we say that you must hire a professional 
to prepare your taxes, we mean an accredited 
chartered accountant-they're a valuable addi- 
tion to your business arsenal. Although the 
people at your local 'We Do Your Taxes in a 
Hurry Shop' may be well meaning and pleasant, 
they may have completed only a short course in 
the current tax laws. Doing so does not make 
these people tax professionals. When business 
taxes are at stake, a professional with whom 
you have a standing relationship is the best 
choice. If you don't know a professional accoun- 
tant, ask around or contactyour local Chamber 
of Commerce or a respectable organisation 



like the Institute of Chartered Accountants 
(www. icaew.co.uk/) or the Association of 
Chartered Certified Accountants (www.acca 
global . com/). 

Posting bookkeeping can be boring. At the end 
of the year when a professional is doing your 
taxes, however, you'll be a lot happier - and 
your tax preparation will cost you less - if 
you've posted your information cleanly and in 
the proper order. For this reason, using 
QuickBooks (see the 'QuickBooks: Making 
Bookkeeping Simple' section) is essential to 
running your business. 



23^2 P art '^ : Y° ur eBay.co.uk Admin 



Figure 16-1: 

DTI home 

page for 

small 

businesses. 



0845 600 9 006 
Find your local 



HH 



ink operator 



cr.nrac 
busirKE 






Feedback I Copyright | Terms 3 



Practical advice for business 



Starting up 
Finance and grants 
Taxes, returns & payroll 
Employing people 
Health, safety, premises 
I Enploit your ideas 

■ IT & e commerce 

■ Sales and marketing 
• International trade 

a Buy or sell a business 
Yourtype of business 



PAYE Online for 

VAT Returns Online 

Corporation Tax Cnlin< 

View all 



in 



What applies to n 




up until 31 January 



Art lirtt shops 

Discover what type of 
online shop best suits 
four bu=me.5= and ha: 
gn about building one 



s I Privacy policy | Accessibility | Help wirh PDF file 



Supporting information 



Aside from needing to know how your business is going (which is really 
important), the main reason to keep clear and concise records is because the 
taxman may come knocking one day. You never know when the Revenue will 
choose your number and want to examine your records. In the following list, 
we highlight some of the important pieces of supporting information (things 
that support your expenses on your end-of-year tax return): 



(•" Receipts: Save every receipt that you get. If you're on a buying trip and 
have coffee at a motorway service station, save the receipt - that drink 
is a deduction from your profits. Everything related to your business 
may be deductible, so save airport parking receipts, cab receipts, 
receipts for a pen that you picked up on your way to a meeting, every- 
thing. If you don't have a receipt, you can't prove the write-off. 

v* Merchandise invoices: Saving all merchandise invoices is as important 
as saving all your receipts. If you want to prove that you paid S400 and 
not the £299 retail price for an item that you sold on eBay.co.uk for S500, 
you'd better have an invoice of some kind. The same idea applies to most 
collectables, in which case a retail price can't be fixed. Save all invoices! 

(•" Contractor invoices: If you use outside contractors - even if you pay the 
teenager next door to go to the post office and bank for you - get an 
invoice from them to document exactly what service you paid for and 
how much you paid. These invoices provide supporting information that 
can save your bacon, should it ever need saving. 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 233 



v* Business cards: If you use your car to look at some merchandise, pick 
up a business card from the vendor. If you travel to a meeting with some- 
one, take a card. Having these business cards can help substantiate your 
deductible comings and goings. 

v* A daily calendar: Every time you leave your house or office on a business- 
related task, use a Palm Handheld (or a diary if you're feeling low-tech) 
to make note of it. Keep as much minutia as you can stand. A Palm 
Desktop can print a monthly calendar. At the end of the year, staple the 
pages together and include them in your files with your substantiating 
information. 

J-" Credit card statements: You're already collecting credit card receipts. If 
you have your statements, you have monthly proof of expenses. When 
you get your statement each month, post it into your bookkeeping pro- 
gram and itemise each and every charge, detailing where you spent the 
money and what for. (QuickBooks has a split feature that accommodates 
all your categories.) File these statements with your tax return at the 
end of the year in your year-end envelope (shoe box?). 



We know that all this stuff piles up, but you can go to the shop and buy some 
plastic file storage containers to organise it all. To check for new information 
and the low-down on what you can and can't do, ask an accountant. Also visit 
the HMRC Tax Information for Business site, shown in Figure 16-2, at 

www.hmrc .gov.uk/businesses/index. shtml 




25 U P art '^: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 




How tony should you keep your records) 

How long do you have to keep all this supporting information? We hate to tell 
you, but the period in which you can amend a return or in which HMRC can 
assess more tax is up to six years, and in extreme circumstances can extend 
even longer, so you must keep records for at least this long. HMRC states that 
if keeping records for six or more years causes you serious storage problems, 
then you may be allowed to get rid of some records a bit earlier. Contact the 
National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000 for more information if this issue 
applies to you. 

Even though we got this information directly from the HMRC Web site, it may 
change in the future. You can download a PDF copy of the current recommen- 
dations by going to the following address: 

www.hmrc .gov.uk/helpsheets/ell . pdf 

If Adobe Acrobat Reader isn't installed on your computer, you can download 
the software (for free) from the HMRC Web site. Bottom line: Storing your 
information for as long as you can stand it and staying on top of any changes 
HMRC may implement doesn't hurt. 



Bookkeeping Software 



«j(l\NGi 




Keeping track of your auctions is hard without software, but keeping track of 
the money you make without software is even harder (and more time con- 
suming). If using software to automate your auctions makes sense, so does 
using software to automate your bookkeeping. You can afford to make a mis- 
take here and there in your own office, and no one will ever know. But if you 
make a mistake in the books, your friendly tax inspector will notice - and be 
quite miffed. He may even charge you a penalty or two so that you'll remem- 
ber not to make those mistakes again. 

Penalties for mistakes in your books aren't small. A late tax return will cost 
you a SI 00 tax penalty, which can be quite an expensive lesson. 

Spreadsheet software can be a boon when you're just starting out in busi- 
ness. A program such as Microsoft Works (which comes free on most new 
computers) or Excel is an excellent way to begin posting your business 
expenses and profits. The program can be set up to calculate your expenses, 
profits, and (we hope not too many) losses. Microsoft Works comes with sev- 
eral free financial worksheet templates that you can easily adapt for an 
eBay.co.uk small business. Also, you can find current Excel templates to get 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 233 



you started at www. microsoft . com/uk/of f ice/prodinf o/def ault . 
mspx. Spending any extra money on templates when you're first starting out 
isn't necessary! 

With official bookkeeping software, reconciling a chequebook is a breeze. You 
merely click off the deposits and cheques when the statement comes in. If 
you make a mistake when originally inputting the data, the software (compar- 
ing your balance and your bank's) lets you know that you've made an error. 
Efficiency of this kind would've put Bob Cratchit out of a job! 

We researched various Web sites to find which software was the best selling 
and easiest to use. We had many discussions with accountants, and book- 
keepers. These professionals consider Intuit's QuickBooks the best account- 
ing software for business, which is why we devote so much of this chapter to 
it. Some people begin with Quicken and later move to QuickBooks when their 
business gets big or incorporates. Our theory? Start with the best. This soft- 
ware isn't that much more expensive than others - we've seen new, sealed 
QuickBooks Pro 2005 software for as low as £100 on eBay.co.uk - and it will 
see you directly to the big time. 



QuickBooks: Making 
Bookkeeping Simple 




QuickBooks offers several versions, from basic to enterprise solutions tailored 
to different types of businesses. QuickBooks Basic and QuickBooks Pro have a 
few significant differences. QuickBooks Pro adds job costing and expensing 
features and the ability to design your own forms. QuickBooks Basic does a 
very good job too, so checkout the comparison at www.quickbooks .co.uk 
and see which version is best for you. We use (and highly recommend) 
QuickBooks Pro, so we describe this version in the rest of this section. 

QuickBooks 2005 For Dummies by Stephen L. Nelson (Wiley) is amazingly 
easy to understand. This book answers - in plain English - just about any 
question you'll have about using the program for your bookkeeping needs. 
Spend the money and get the book. Any money spent on increasing your 
knowledge is money well spent (and is a tax write-off). 

We update our QuickBooks software yearly, and every year it takes us less 
time to perform our bookkeeping tasks (because of product improvements). 
If you find that you don't have time to input your bookkeeping data, consider 
hiring a bookkeeper. Professional bookkeepers probably already know 
QuickBooks, and they can print daily reports to keep you apprised of your 



250 Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



business condition. Also, at the end of each year, QuickBooks supplies you 
with all the official reports your accredited chartered accountant needs to do 
your taxes. (Yes, you really do need a qualified accountant; see the 'Hiring a 
professional to do your year-end taxes' sidebar elsewhere in this chapter.) 
You can even send your accountant a backup on a zip disk or a CD-ROM. See 
how simple bookkeeping can be? 



QuickBooks Pro 



When you first fire up QuickBooks Pro, you need to answer a few questions 
to set up your account. Among the few things you need to have ready before 
you even begin to mess with the software are the following starting figures: 



(-" Cash balance: This may be the amount of money deposited from your 
eBay.co.uk profits. Put these profits into a separate account to use for 
your business. 

v* Accounts receivable balance: Does anyone owe you money for some 
auctions? Outstanding payments make up this total. 

v* Account liability balance: Do you owe some money? Are you being 
invoiced for some merchandise that you haven't paid for? Add up any 
outstanding liabilities and enter the total when QuickBooks asks you to. 




If you're starting your business in the middle of the year, gather any previous 
profits and expenses that you want to include because you'll have to input 
this information for a complete annual set of diligently recorded books. This 
process is going to take a while. But after you've gathered together your 
finances, even if it takes a little sweat to set it up initially, you'll be thanking 
us for insisting you get organised. Having properly organised books just 
makes everything work smoother in the long run. 



QuickBooks integrates with PayPal 



PayPal can provide your payment history in 
QuickBooks format. They (PayPal) even offer a 
settlement and reconciliation system download 
that breaks up your PayPal transactions into 
debits and credits - a handy feature! One warn- 
ing though: Only financial transactions are 
recorded and organised using this feature. 
When you use QuickBooks to its fullest, your 
inventory is in the program. When you purchase 



merchandise to sell, QuickBooks sets up the 
inventory - and deducts from it each time 
you input an invoice or a sales receipt. This 
way your inventory receipts follow recognised 
standards. eBay Timesaving Techniques For 
Dummies by Marsha Collier (Wiley), shows you 
the procedures for posting your weekly (or 
daily) sales in QuickBooks by using sales 
receipts. 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 23 7 



QuickBooks EasyStep Interview 

After you've organised your finances, you can proceed with the QuickBooks 
EasyStep Interview, which is shown in Figure 16-3. The EasyStep Interview is 
designed to give those with accounting-phobia and those using a bookkeep- 
ing program for the first time a comfort level. If you mess things up, you can 
always use the back arrow and change what you've input. If you need help, 
simply click the Help button and the program answers many of your ques- 
tions. If things go hideously wrong, you can always delete the file from the 
QuickBooks directory and start again. 



Figure 16-3: 

The 

QuickBooks 

Pro 

EasyStep 

Interview 

start page. 




For the whirlwind tour through the QuickBooks EasyStep Interview, just 
follow these steps (which are only a general guideline): 

1. Start QuickBooks, and choose the Create a New Company option. 

You're now at the EasyStep Interview. 

2. On the first page of the interactive portion of the interview, type your 
company name (this becomes the filename in your computer) and the 
legal name of your company. 

3. Continue to follow the steps, answering other questions about your 
business, such as the address and the type of tax form you use. 

4. When QuickBooks asks what type of business you want to use, choose 
Retail: General. 

QuickBooks doesn't offer an online sales business choice, so Retail: 
General is the closest to what you need (see Figure 16-4). With the chart 
of accounts that we feature in the following section, you can make the 
appropriate changes to your accounts to adapt to your eBay business. 



2f}8 P art '^ : ^ our eBay.co.uk Admin 





^i [ ^"Welcome 


1 Company Info Preferences 


Start Date j 


General 










Ig Select you? business type iron; the scrollable list. 


Income & 
Expenses 




Income 
Details 




r &. Choose your company type carefully. You can 
^ /!\ later 


not change your company type 




Opening 
Balances 














h 


Industry 






Nonprofit Organization 
Property Management 
Real Estate Brokerage 
Restaurant 


±. 


What's Next 




Figure 16-4: 


Leave 


Selecting 


Service Business ^ 


„ 


your 
company 


^ TellMeMor 
ia What if m 








industry isn't on the list? 




More 






type. 


| 








Prev Newt 







5. When QuickBooks asks whether you want to use its chosen chart of 
accounts, choose Yes. 

See Figure 16-5.You can always change the accounts later. If you want to 
spend the time, you can also input your entire custom chart of accounts 
manually (but we really, really don't recommend it). 



Figure 16-5: 

Accepting 

the 

QuickBooks 

chart of 

accounts. 



[ ^Welcome 



Company Info 



Preferences 



Your income and expense accounts 

/ QuickBooks has chosen these accounts [or retail 

businesses. 
Do you want to use these accounts? 

f? Yes 

C No, I'd like to create my own 



A 



<j\ if you accsp! the displayed accounts, 
l\ QuickBooks will set them up for you 
when you click Nent. 



Tell Me More 
Can I change these accounts? 



Accounts 



Retail: 
Sales 

Merchandise 

Service 

Consignment Sales 

Shipping and Handling 

Discounts Given 
Cash Discrepancies 

Overages 

Shortages 
Purchases 
Purchase Discounts 



"d 



zi 



Income & 
Expenses 



Income 
Derails 



Opening 
Balances 



6. Answer some more general questions, which we're sure you can 
handle with the aid of the incredibly intuitive QuickBooks help area. 

7. When the preferences pages appear, select the 'Enter the bills first 
and then enter the payments later' option. 

That way, if you input your bills as they come in, you can get an exact 
idea of how much money you owe at any time by just starting the 
program. 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 23 y 



&*** 




8. Decide whether you want to use QuickBooks to process your payroll. 

Even if you're the only employee, using QuickBooks payroll information 
makes things much easier when it comes to filling out your payroll 
deposits. QuickBooks automatically fills in forms for your tax processing 
and prints the appropriate form ready for your signature and mailing. 

9. Answer a few more questions, including whether you want to use the 
cash basis or accrual basis of accounting. 

The accrual basis posts sales the minute you write an invoice or post a 
sales receipt, and posts your expenses as soon as you post the bills into 
the computer. Accrual basis accounting gives you a clearer picture of 
where your company is financially than cash basis accounting does. The 
cash basis is when you record bills by writing cheques - expenses are 
posted only when you write the cheques. Doing business on a cash basis 
may be simpler, but the only way you'll know how much money you owe 
is by looking at the pile of bills on your desk. 

If you're new to bookkeeping, you may want to go through the interview 
step-by-step with a tutor at your side. For more details, check out 
QuickBooks 2005 For Dummies (Wiley) - this book can teach you almost 
everything you need to know about QuickBooks. 

10. If you're comfortable, just click Leave and input the balance of your 
required information directly into the program without using the 
interview. 



QuickBooks chart of accounts 

After you finish the EasyStep Interview and successfully set yourself up in 
QuickBooks, the program presents a chart of accounts. Think of the chart of 
accounts as an organisation system, such as file folders. The chart of 
accounts keeps all related data in the proper area. When you write a cheque 
to pay a bill, it deducts the amount from your current account, reduces your 
accounts payable, and perhaps increases your asset or expense accounts. 

You have a choice of giving each account a number. These numbers, a kind of 
bookkeeping shorthand, are standardised throughout bookkeeping; believe it 
or not, everybody in the industry seems to know what number goes with what 
item. To keep the process simple, we like to use titles as well as numbers. 

To customise your chart of accounts, follow these steps: 

1. Choose EditoPreferences. 

2. Click the Accounting icon (on the left). 



260 



Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



3. Click the Company preferences tab and indicate that you'd like to use 
account numbers. 

An editable chart of accounts appears, as shown in Figure 16-6. Because 
QuickBooks doesn't assign account numbers as a default, you need to 
edit the chart to create them. 



Figure 16-6: 

Your chart 

of accounts 

now has 

numbers 

generated by 

QuickBooks. 



Navigators 



Company 

Customers 

Vendors 
[ Qp] Employees 
fl| Banking 

Business Services 
lW } Reports 
19 Help t Support 




Fj Chart of Accounts 


^lAsk a help question Askfl t How Do IV ^| 


Name 


1 4 


Type 


Balance 


« Sales Tan Payable 
■* Capital Stock 
»0pening Bal Equity 
■* Retained Earnings 
+ Cash Discrepancies 

* Overages 
o Shortages 

+ Sales 

* Consignment Sales 

* Discounts Given 
o Merchandise 




Other Current Liability 
Equity 

Equity 
Equity 
Income 
Income 
Income 
Income 
Income 
Income 
Income 


0.00 
0.00 
0.00 


o Service 

* Shiooina and Handlino 






Income 

Income 

Cost ol Goods Sold 

Cost ol Goods Sold 

Enpense 

Enpense 

Enpense 

Expense 

Expense 

Enpense 

Enpense 

Expense 




New jt CtrkN 




Edit 
DeleTe 


CtiUE 

CtrUD 


M.ike Inactive 
Show All Accounts 
* Hierarchical View 




Flat View 






Expense 
Enpense 
Enpense 
Expense 
Expense 
Enpense 
Enpense 
Expense 
Expense 
Enpense 




Import from Excel ... 

Use 

Find Transactions in.. 


CtrUU 


Print List... 

Re-soiT List 


CtrUP 


Account T Activities w Reports 'J I - Show All 



4. Go through your QuickBooks chart of accounts and add any missing 
categories. 

You may not need all these categories, and you can always add more 
later. Table 16-1 presents a chart of accounts written by an accountant 
for an eBay.co.uk business. Figure 16-7 shows a customised chart of 
accounts. 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 2 \) 7 



Figure 16-7: 

Customised 

chart 

of accounts 

for an 

eBay.co.uk 

business. 



Fii Chart of Accounts 




Name # 


Type 


Balance 


* 4010 'Sates 


Income 




* 4022 -Website Sales 


Income 




* 4021 eBay Sales 


Income 




* 4Q3Q ■ Shipping Income 


Income 




-'.L' 1 . 1 '.■. j 


Income 




+ 4060 Newsletter Advertising 


Income 




+ 4110 Reimbursed Expenses 


Income 




+ 7010 Interest Income 


Income 




+ 53Q1 eBay Costs 


Cost ol Goods Sold 




o 5395 ■ Merchandise 


Cost ol Goods Sold 




* 5396 ■ eBay Fees 


Cost ot Goods Sold 




* 5397 ■ PayPal Fees 


Cost ot Goods Sold 




■. i-f.i.- 1 ■ liV 


Cost ol Goods Sold 




o 5399 ■ Shipping Supplies 


Cost ol Goods Sold 




+ 5460 Shipping 


Cost ol Goods Sold 




*54G1 ■ Messenger Service 


Cost ol Goods Sold 




-i i i *.vr »i i .f.i- i ii". 


Cost ol Goods Sold 




+ 521 El Promotion 


Expense 




+ 5217 Advertising 


Expense 




+ 5218 Research 


Expense 




+ 5230 Automobile 


Expense 




* 5231 ■ Gas t Parking 


Expense 




■■■ b'23Z ■ Repair & Maintenance 


Expense 




+ 5260 ■ Contract Labor 


Expense 




• SJi-i ■:!■: i ■:■ Fi: -: r .■ j i-:-i. 


Expense 




+ 527Q Contributions 


Expense 




*52S0 Dues and Subscriptions 


Expense 




+ 5310 Insurance 


Expense 




: 1 '•;■(.. v-t-il-r- !■ n n-.r 


Expense 




* 531 2 - Business Insurance 


Expense 




+ 531 3 ■ Workman's Compensation 


Expense 




o 531 4 ■ Health Insurance 


Expense 




+ 5330 Licensing Fees 


Expense 




+ 5360 Payroll Expenses 


Expense 




Account T Activities T Reports T 1 |~~ ShowAII 



Table 16-1 



eBay.co.uk Business Chart of Accounts 



Account Number Account Name 



What It Represents 



1001 



Checking 



All revenue deposited here 
and all cheques drawn upon 
this account 



1002 



Money market account Company savings account 



1100 



Accounts receivable 



For customers to whom you 
extend credit 



1201 



Merchandise inventory 



Charge to cost of sales as used, 
or take periodic inventories and 
adjust at that time 



1202 



Shipping supplies 



Boxes, tape, labels, and so forth; 
charge these to cost as used, or 
take an inventory at the end of 
the period and adjust to cost of 
sales 



(continued) 



262 



Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



Table 16-1 (continued} 


Account Number 


Account Name 


What It Represents 


1401 


Office furniture 
& equipment 


Desk, computer, telephone 


1402 


Shipping equipment 


Scales, tape dispensers 


1403 


Vehicles 


Your vehicle, if owned by the 
company 


1501 


Accumulated 
depreciation 


For your accountant's use 


1601 


Deposits 


Security deposits on leases 


2001 


Accounts payable 


Amounts owed for the stuff you 
sell, or charged expenses 


2100 


Payroll liabilities 


Taxes deducted from employ- 
ees' cheques and taxes paid by 
company on employee earnings 


2501 


Equipment loans 


Money borrowed to buy a com- 
puter or other equipment 


2502 


Car loans 


When you get that hot new 
van for visiting your consign- 
ment clients 


3000 


Owner's capital 


Your opening balance 


3902 


Owner's draw 


Your withdrawals for the current 
year 


4001 


Merchandise sales 


Revenue from sales of your 
products 


4002 


Shipping and handling 


Paid by the customer 


4009 


Returns 


Total amount of returned 
merchandise 


4101 


Interest income 


From your investments 


4201 


Other income 


Income not otherwise classified 



5001 



Merchandise purchases 



All the merchandise you buy for 
eBay.co.uk; you'll probably use 
sub-accounts for individual 
items 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 20 J 



Account Number Account Name 



What It Represents 



5002 



6152 



Freight in 



Freight and shipping charges 
you pay for your inventory, not 
for shipments to customers 



5003 


Shipping 


Shipping to your customers: 
Royal Mail, e-parcels. co.uk, 
DHL, and so on 


5004 


Shipping supplies 


Boxes, labels, tape, bubble wrap 


6110 


Car expense 


When you use your car for work 


6111 


Petrol and oil 


Filling up the tank! 


6112 


Repairs 


When your business owns 
the car 


6120 


Bank service charges 


Monthly service charges 
charges, and so forth 


6140 


Contributions 


Charity 


6142 


Data services 


Do you have an outside firm pro- 
cessing your payroll? 


6143 


Internet service provider 


What you pay to your Internet 
provider 


6144 


Web site hosting fees 


Fees paid to your hosting 
company 


6150 


Depreciation expense 


For your accountant's use 


6151 


eBay fees 


What you pay eBay every month 
to stay in business based on 
your sales 



Discounts 



Fees you're charged for using 
eBay and accepting credit card 
payments; deducted from your 
revenue and reported to you on 
your eBay statement 



6153 



Other auction site fees 



You may want to setup subcate- 
gories for each site where you 
do business, such as Yahoo! or 
Amazon.com 



6156 



PayPal fees 



Processing fees paid to PayPal 



(continued) 



2v4* Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



Table 16-1 (continued} 


Account Number 


Account Name 


What It Represents 


6158 


Credit card merchant 
account fees 


If you have a separate merchant 
account, post those fees here 


6160 


Dues 


If you join an organisation that 
charges membership fees (relat- 
ing to your business) 


6161 


Magazines and 
periodicals 


Books and magazines that 
help you run and expand your 
business 


6170 


Equipment rental 


Postage meter, occasional van 


6180 


Insurance 


Policies that cover your mer- 
chandise or your office 



6185 



Liability insurance 



Insurance that covers you if 
someone slips and falls atyour 
place of business (can also be 
put under Insurance) 



6190 



Disability insurance 



Insurance that will pay you if 
you become temporarily or per- 
manently disabled and can't per- 
form your work 



6191 


Health insurance 


If provided for yourself, you may 
be required to provide it to 
employees 


6200 


Interest expense 


Credit interest and interest 
on loans 


6220 


Loan interest 


When you borrow from the bank 


6240 


Miscellaneous 


Whatever doesn't go 
anywhere else 


6250 


Postage and delivery 


Stamps used in your regular 
business 


6260 


Printing 


Your business cards, correspon- 
dence stationery, and so on 


6265 


Filing fees 


Fees paid to file legal documents 


6270 


Professional fees 


Fees paid to consultants 


6280 


Legal fees 


If you have to pay a lawyer 



Chapter 16: Practising Safe and Smart Record-Keeping 203 



Account Number 


Account Name 


What It Represents 


6650 


Accounting and 
bookkeeping 


Fees paid to a bookkeeper or 
accountant 


6290 


Rent 


Office, warehouse, and so on 


6300 


Repairs 


Can be the major category for 
the following subcategories 


6310 


Building repairs 


Repairs to the building where 
you operate your business 


6320 


Computer repairs 


What you pay the person who 
sets up your wireless network 


6330 


Equipment repairs 


When the photocopier or phone 
needs fixing 


6340 


Telephone 


Regulartelephone,fax lines 


6350 


Travel and entertainment 


Business-related travel, busi- 
ness meals 


6360 


Entertainment 


When you take eBay's CEO out 
to dinner to benefit your eBay 
business 


6370 


Meals 


Meals while travelling for your 
business 


6390 


Utilities 


Major heading forthe following 
subcategories 


6391 


Electricity and gas 


Electricity and gas 


6392 


Water 


Water 


6560 


Payroll expenses 


Wages paid to others 


6770 


Supplies 


Office supplies 


6772 


Computer 


Computer and supplies 


6780 


Marketing 


Advertising or promotional items 
you purchase to give away 


6790 


Office 


Miscellaneous office expenses, 
such as bottled water delivery 


6820 


Taxes 


Major category forthe following 
subcategories 


6840 


Local 


council tax 


6850 


Property 


Property taxes 



266 



Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



Chapter 17 

Building an eBay.co.uk 
Back Office 



In This Chapter 

Organising your stock 
Keeping inventory 
Exploring shipping materials 
Becoming your own post office 



The more items you sell, the more confusing things can get. As you build 
your eBay.co.uk business, the little side table you use for storing eBay 
merchandise isn't going to work. You must think industrial. Even part-time sell- 
ers can benefit by adding a few professional touches to their business areas. 

In this chapter, we emphasise the importance of setting up and organising 
your back office. We cover everything from stacking your stock to keeping 
inventory to choosing packing materials and online postage services. 
Organisation is your byword. Dive right in. The sooner you read this chapter, 
the sooner you can build your eBay back office and get down to business. 



The Warehouse: Orqanisinq \lour Space 

Whether you plan to sell large or small items, you need space for storing them. 
As you make savvy purchases, maintaining an item's mint condition is one of 
your greatest challenges. Organised storage in itself is an art, so in this section 
we cover the details of what you need to safeguard your precious stock. 



268 



Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



Shelving your profits 



Before you stock the shelves, it helps to have some! You also need a place to 
put the shelves: Your garage, a spare room, or somewhere else. You have a 
choice between three basic kinds of shelves: 



«*" Plastic: If you're just starting out, you can always go to the local DIY 
shop to buy inexpensive plastic shelves. They're light and cheap - and 
they'll buckle in time. 

v* Wooden: When you think about cheap wooden furniture, one shop 
springs to mind: Ikea. It's got loads of different styles with a starting 
price of less than SI - you can't argue with that when your starting up 
on a budget! 

J-" Steel: If you want to get your storage right first time, buy steel shelving. 
The most versatile steel shelving is the wire kind (versus solid-steel 
shelves), which is lighter and allows air to circulate around your items. 
Steel wire shelving assembles easily. The shelving comes with levelling 
feet and 4-inch casters, so should you need to move a shelf unit, you 
can. Installing casters is up to you. You can combine steel wire shelving 
units to create a full wall of shelves. Each shelf safely holds as much as 
250kgs of merchandise. 

Search eBay.co.uk for shelving to find sellers offering this kind of indus- 
trial shelving. The main problem with ordering this product online is 
that the shipping usually costs more than the shelving. 



Box 'em or baq 'em} 



Packing your items for storage can be a challenge. Pick up some plastic bags 
in different sizes. Sandwich bags are perfect for storing smaller items, for 
example. When items are stored in plastic, they can't pick up any smells or 
become musty before you sell them. The plastic also protects the items from 
rubbing against each other and causing possible damage. If you package your 
merchandise one item to a bag, you can then just lift one off the shelf and put 
it directly into a shipping box when the auction is over. 

Your bags of items have to go into boxes for storage on the shelves. Clear 
plastic storage boxes are great for bulky items. These big plastic containers 
are usually 26 inches deep, so before you buy them make sure they'll fit on 
your shelving comfortably and that you'll have easy access to your items. 
Using cardboard office-type file storage boxes from an office supply shop is 
another option. These cardboard boxes are 10 x 12 x 16 inches, which is a 



Chapter 17: Building an eBay.co.uk Back Office £\)y 




nice size for storing medium-size products; they're also the most economical 
choice. The downside is that you can't see through cardboard boxes, so if 
your label falls off, you have to take the box off the shelf and open it to check 
its contents. Smaller see-through plastic boxes with various compartments, 
such as the kind sold in DIY shops as toolboxes, work great for storing very 
small items. 

When using large plastic bins, tape a pad of Post-it notes on the end of the 
box so you can quickly identify the contents. You can use regular sticky 
labels, but changing them leaves large amounts of paper residue over time, 
and your storage ends up looking sloppy and unprofessional. 



Inventory: Keeping Track of What 
l/au HaVe and Where \lou Keep It 

Savvy eBay.co.uk sellers have different methods of handling inventory. They 
use everything from spiral-bound notebooks to sophisticated software pro- 
grams. Although computerised inventory tracking can simplify this task, start- 
ing with a plain ol' handwritten ledger is fine, too. Choose whichever method 
works best for you, but keep in mind that as your eBay business grows, a soft- 
ware program that tracks inventory for you may become necessary. 

Most of these inventory systems wouldn't work for a company with a ware- 
house full of stock but will work nicely in an eBay sales environment. Many 
sellers tape sheets of paper to their boxes to identify them by number, and 
use that as a reference to a simple Excel spreadsheet for selling purposes. 
Excel spreadsheets are perfect for keeping track of your auctions as well, but 
if you're using a management service or software, you don't need both for 
physical inventory. After you're running a full-time business, however, you 
have to keep the tax inspectors happy with pounds and pence accounting of 
your inventory, so keep your inventory records in a standardised program 
such as QuickBooks (discussed in Chapter 16). In Chapter 8, we detail a vari- 
ety of auction management software and Web sites, many of which include 
physical inventory tracking features. 

You may also want to use Excel spreadsheets for your downloaded PayPal state- 
ments, to hold information waiting to transfer to your bookkeeping program. 

Plan in advance where you want to put everything. Organise your items by 
theme, type, or size. If you organise before planning, you may end up with 
organised chaos. 




2 / Part IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



The Shipping Department: Packin'U Up 

In this section, we look at some of the essentials for a complete, smooth- 
running shipping department, such as cleaning supplies and packing materials. 
The handling fee portion of your shipping charges pays for these kinds of items. 
Don't run low on these items and pay attention to how you store them - they 
must be kept in a clean environment. 



Packaqinq clean up 



Be sure the items you send out are in tip-top shape. A few everyday chemi- 
cals can gild the lily, for example: 

v* WD-40: The decades-old lubricant works very well at getting price stick- 
ers off plastic and glass without damaging the product. The plastic on a 
toy box may begin to look nasty, even when stored in a clean environ- 
ment. A quick wipe with a paper towel with a dash of WD-40 will make 
the plastic shine like new. WD-40 also works incredibly well for untan- 
gling jewellery chains and shining up metallic objects. 

J-" Goo Gone (available from US eBay sellers): Goo Gone works miracles 
in cleaning up gooey sticker residue from non-porous items. 

v* un-du (available from US eBay sellers): This amazing liquid easily 
removes stickers from cardboard, plastic, fabrics, and more without 
causing damage, un-du comes packaged with a patented mini-scraper 
top that can be used in any of your sticker cleaning projects. If you can't 
find un-du, check out www. coolebaytools . com for places to purchase 
it. You can also use lighter fluid (which is, of course, considerably more 
dangerous and may damage your item). 



Removing musty odours from apparel items 



Clothing can often pick up odours that you just 
don't notice. We recently bought some designer 
dresses on eBay.co.ukfroma seller who had the 
typical disclaimer in her description: 'No stains, 
holes, repairs, or odours. Comes from a smoke- 
free, pet-free home.' Unfortunately, the minute we 
opened the box we could smell the musty odour 
of an item that had been stored for a long time. 

To prevent that unpleasant storage odour, keep 
a packet of Dryel Fabric Care System around. 



Dryel is a safe, do-it-yourself dry cleaning prod- 
uct. Just place your better eBay clothing items 
in the patented Dryel bag with the special sheet 
and toss itinthedryerasperthe instructions on 
the box. Your garment will come out smelling 
clean and wrinkle free. For more information, 
visit Dryel's Web site at www . dryel . com. If 
you find Dryel hard to get hold of, Febreeze 
works well as a quick fix, and this product is 
available everywhere! 



Chapter 17: Building an eBay.co.uk Back Office 2/1 



Packing materials 



To ensure that your items arrive at their destinations in one piece, keep the 
following on hand at all times: 



«*" Bubble wrap: A clean, puffy product that comes in rolls, bubble wrap is 
available in several sizes. Depending on your product, you may have to 
carry two sizes of bubble wrap to properly protect the goods. Bubble 
wrap can be expensive, but check out vendors at eBay.co.uk; you'll find 
quite a lot of them (and possibly a deal). See Figure 17-1. 



















Figure 17-1: 


Highest Commercial Quality 


Bubble 
wrap in its 
pure form. 


Each roll is 150 Feet x 12" Wide 

3/16" - "Small" Bubbles 

Perforated every 12" 



V Styrofoam packing beads: Polystyrene beads (or peanuts) protect just 
about everything you ship. Storing them is the tricky part. One of the 
most ingenious storage solutions we've seen is putting the beads into 
big plastic rubbish bags, and then hanging these bags on cup hooks 
(available at the hardware shop) around the walls in a garage. When 
packing with peanuts, be sure that you place the item carefully and use 
enough peanuts to fill the box completely; leaving any airspace defeats 
the point of using the peanuts in the first place. 

k" Plastic bags: Buy plastic bags in bulk to save money. Buy various sizes 
and use them for both shipping and storing. Even large kitchen rubbish 
bags are good for wrapping up posters and large items; the plastic pro- 
tects the item from inclement weather by waterproofing it. 



2 /2 P art 'V ; Y° ur eBay.co.uk Admin 



v* Two or three-inch shipping tape: You need clear tape to place over 
address labels to protect them from scrapes and rain. Don't risk a lost 
package for want of a few inches of tape. See the following section on 
boxes for more information. 

v* Padded envelopes: If you send items that fit nicely into these bubble 
wrap-lined envelopes, use them (see Figure 17-2). This type of envelope - 
with paper on the outside and bubble wrap on the inside - is perfect for 
mailing small items or clothing using first class mail. Jiffy bags are avail- 
able in quantity (an economical choice) and don't take up much storage 
space. Table 17-1 shows you the industry-standard sizes of jiffy bags and 
their suggested uses. 



Figure 17-2: 

Jiffy bags 

for sale on 

eBay.co.uk. 




Bubblefast's Mailers are lightweight yet hold up 
under the toughest mailing conditions. Air 
cushioning offers maximum protection 






Features 


Benefits 


High-qUality bubble 
cushioning 


Outperforms other shippers 
in burst, puncture and 
cushioning tests 


Lightweight air cushioning 


Controls shipping costs 


Slip iining and low- 
resistance bubble 


Makes product insertion 
and removal quick and 
simple 


Clean and water resistant 


Ideal for sensative product 
shipping 



Table 17-1 


Standard Bag Sizes 


Measurements 


Suggested Items 


4" x 8" 


Collector trading cards, jewellery, computer disks 


5"x10" 


Postcards, paper ephemera 


6" x 1 0" 


Dolls' clothes, CDs, DVDs, Xbox or PS2 games 


7%" x 12" 


Cardboard sleeve VHS tapes, jewel-cased CDs, and DVDs 


8/2" x 12" 


Clamshell VHS tapes, books 



Chapter 17: Building an eBay.co.uk Back Office 2 / 3 



Measurements 


Suggested Items 


8/ 2 "x14/ 2 " 


Toys, clothing, stuffed animals 


9/ z "x14/ 2 " 


Small books, trade paperbacks 


IO/2" x 16" 


Hardcover books, dolls 


12/2" x 19" 


Clothing, soft boxed items 


I4/4" x 20" 


Much larger packaged items, framed items and plaques 



Packaging - the heart of the matter 

Depending on the size of the item you sell, you can purchase boxes in bulk at 
reliable sources. Try to purchase from a manufacturer that specialises in B2B 
(business to business) sales. Some box companies specialise in selling to the 
occasional box user - knowing the size that you need enables you to bulk buy. 



The Post Room: Sendin'lt Out 

In this section, we give you the low-down on the main Internet postage 
vendor: Royal Mail. 

Printing labels on your printer is convenient until you start sending out a 
dozen packages at a time, then cutting the paper and taping the label gets a 
bit too time consuming. Do yourself a favour and get a label printer. Yes, 
these printers can be expensive, but you can find some great deals on 
eBay.co.uk. A label printer can save you countless hours. 

Royal Mail has an online postage service called SmartStamp that enables you 
to print postage directly from your computer while online. To register online 
and download their software, go to the Royal Mail Web site at 

www. royalmail . com 

and click the SmartStamp link. 

Here are some features of the SmartStamp service: 

Ie* You can print postage directly onto envelopes or labels. 
p* You can personalise your mail with a company logo. 




2 1 IX P art IV: Your eBay.co.uk Admin 



11^ No minimum mailing amount is required, so a small time eBayer can 
benefit as much as a multi-national company. 
J-" You can even add your own company strapline or promotional message. 

With SmartStamp you pay a monthly or annual subscription plus whatever 
you shell out in postage costs. At time of writing, Royal Mail offers the ser- 
vice for S4.99 a month or S49.99 a year. 



PartV 

The Part of Tens 




i*\<nVe c\ succ€SS-Pia1 business oiaV o-P v*\y Uobby 
fv^mspoH-ing - Well, f U<nv\Vs t-o e&^ny " 



In this part . . . 



J\Jot everyone is a shooting star at eBay.co.uk, but it's a 
# W good goal to reach for. For your inspiration, I've 
included profiles on some interesting people - from all 
walks of life - who've turned their sales through eBay.co.uk 
inot a profitable enterprise, some working only part-time. 
These are not people in big companies. Instead, they're 
people like us, working hard to expand their business on 
eBay.co.uk. In the second chapter, I provide information on 
moving merchandise that you think you might never sell. 



Chapter 18 

Ten Successful (and Happy) eBay 
Sellers and Their Stories 



In This Chapter 

People who make their living selling at eBay . 
. . . and love it! 



§M/e enjoy hearing stories about how much people like eBay. We enjoy it 
▼ W even more when we hear that they're doing something that they get 
pleasure from while earning a good living. One of the best parts of teaching at 
eBay University is talking to the hundreds of sellers who attend. We get the 
opportunity to bounce ideas around with them and find out about the cre- 
ative ways they spend their time at eBay. 

We thought you might like to know more about some of the people at eBay 
and eBay.co.uk, so we interviewed them; it was so much fun getting to know 
about each of them. They have different backgrounds and lifestyles - but 
they all have one thing in common: eBay! 

In favour of highlighting some regular folks at eBay, we dispensed with the 
customary writer thing (you know, finding the largest PowerSellers at eBay to 
interview). No one's a success overnight, and the people we discuss in this 
chapter certainly have been plugging away at eBay, increasing their busi- 
nesses and becoming successful. We dug through some old feedbacks (all the 
way back to 1997) and contacted sellers to see how they're doing these days. 

In this chapter, you'll find a mix of UK and US sellers, who together have 
decades of eBay experience to share. All have enjoyed success and are loved 
by their customers. Here are their stories (and their advice). 



Rockem Music 

Member since December 2002; Feedback 9334; Positive Feedback 100% 



278 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



Apart from making armfuls of cash, achieving a 10096 feedback rating is what 
every eBay business dreams of; maintaining such an exulted position is 
worthier still. At time of writing, music e-tail business Rockem Music has 
achieved just that - no negative feedback. Impressive stuff; especially 
when you consider how active they are. 

Rockem Music is the brainchild of brothers Dave and Rob Hockman, who quit 
their jobs (one as a drum teacher, the other as a traffic policeman) in 2002 to 
set up shop on eBay.co.uk supplying musical equipment to UK and interna- 
tional markets. 

Rob says they came up against some stiff resistance when starting their 
business and that distributors were initially sceptical of their credentials as 
a viable business - despite their combined £20,000 deposit to the contrary! 
Nowadays, being taken seriously is not a problem, especially with their 
Platinum PowerSeller status, a feedback rating approaching 8,000, and 
turnover passing £350,000 in 2005. 

The pair credit their success to honesty, fairness and sheer hard work. 
Dave says a good way to run your business is via eBay's guiding principles - 
especially the bit about mutual respect. 

The guys have just relaunched their non-eBay Web site: www. rockemmusic . 
com (see Figure 18-1) and are developing their own line of drum kits - not bad 
progress in just three years, eh? 



Figure 18-1: 

Rockem 

Music's 

eBay.co.uk 

home page. 




| Rockem Music 



i* ISC'"'" 



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Chapter 18: Ten Successful (and Happy) eBay Sellers and Their Stories 2 1 j 



AboVethemaii 




Member since April 1998; Feedback 3827; Positive Feedback 99.9% 

Aside from being pretty, bright, and talented, Marjie Smith is a heck of an 
eBay seller. She's not only a PowerSeller, she's the founder of the Disabled 
Online Users Association (DOUA) - her other full-time job. 

She discovered eBay when she was running an e-mail discussion group of 
women who collected Beanies Babies. Many were looking for connections to 
complete their collections. Being the head 'nut' (nicknamed that by the group 
after the Ty Beanie 'Nuts' the Squirrel), it was her job to help them accom- 
plish this goal. The rest, they say, is history. 

Marjie runs 50 to 100 auctions a week and keeps her eBay store as stocked as 
she possibly can. She's an authorized Etienne Aigner representative and has 
exclusive agreements with several unique gift lines. But she's quick to point 
out that she'll sell anything! She once found a box of old, beat-up books next 
to a dumpster outside a thrift shop. She waited till no one was looking and 
snapped them up and sold them on eBay. That box of books netted her a cool 
$300 profit. 

Just like many of the sellers we profile here, Marjie spends as many as 70 
hours a week on her eBay enterprises. Her biggest sale came from a woman 
who used Buy It Now to purchase more than $1000 worth of lovely Etienne 
Aigner accessories from her eBay store in one day. 

eBay has really changed her life. 'Being a successful eBay seller has truly 
given me my wings. I am independent, self-sufficient, and financially stable. I 
know I won't get laid off, downsized, or put out to pasture before I'm 
ready. I'm my own boss, work my own hours, set my own limits, and can 
readily achieve them thanks to the platform that eBay provides to all sellers. 
When they say it's a level playing field, believe it.' 

Aside from an eBay store, Marjie sells from her Web site www . abovethe 
mall . com (see Figure 18-2) and runs the site for DOUA, www. doua. info. 

Marjie's words for new sellers on eBay? Remember back to when you were a 
new buyer. Take all the good from the sellers who've helped you along the 
way, add your own flavour, and always do right by your customers. 



280 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



Figure 18-2: 

The Above- 

themall 

Web site. 



ebY 

« Power 
Seller 

M Welcome! 

& Products 

fi On EBAY 
9 DOUA 

^* Privacy 

*C About Us' 






Press 



3p Contact Us 



ESS 






:■; 






We/come/ 



i I saturinr! tme leather good?) from Etienns Aigner Purses, wallets, cigarette 

cases, key fobs, passport holders, jewelry cases and sa much more. We can 

fill all your Aigner needs in one spot 

Our new product lines are beginning to roll in and they include such items as 

Cookie Jars by Henry Cavanaugh, Fun-n-Funky cat, dog, cow and animal 

ceramic decor items, Knight-Lights, lovely jewelry and House of Kangaroo 

corporate products. We are an authorized deaierior all of the major product 

lines we carry. 

We feature Same Day Shipping on all orders paid before 1 PM EST, except 
on Sundays and holidays. Our default shipping method is USPS Priority Mail, 
with Delivery Conformation (except books). All orders are shipped insuied 
by private carrier Oui service to you istiuly the most important pioduct 
we offei! 



Etienne Aigner 

House or Kangaroo 

Knight Lights 

Charity Bears 

Route 66 

Fun and Funky Cows 

Let's Go Ti avel ' juidqs 

■ ■ . .' i- j ' : j -J.'. 

leather goods 

handbags 
knapsacks 
backpacks 



pallets 



teddy beats 



rflusic 



Incentive 



Member since September 1997; Feedback 330; Positive Feedback: 99.7% 

Patrick Horsman's eBay.co.uk watch business is not the most prolific listed 
here, in fact he rarely sells more than one item a day, but he illustrates bril- 
liantly how eBay can compliment an existing business. Oh yeah, and he's a 
great seller too, having received only positive feedback in the last 12 months 
(that means no neutral as well as negative feedback). 

Patrick runs several Web sites dedicated to all things that go tick, and one 
that offers corporate gift ideas. These are his main businesses, but he assures 
me that eBay.co.uk remains an integral part of what he does. 

As an early starter on the dot-com scene, Patrick spent his first two years 
selling to eBayers in Canada and the US; apparently his first sale was to a 
Canadian and came in at C$4,500 - not a bad start! 



He believes the secret of his success to date is his honesty, expertise and his 
focus on describing his products in a way people can understand. Watches 
have high ticket prices, and quite rightly people are sceptical if they don't 
have the items in their hands. Patrick says he spends a lot of time simply 
'reassuring people'. 




Chapter 18: Ten Successful eBay Sellers and Their Stories 28 1 



It's not all been plain sailing, however. He once lost SI, 400 in a convincing 
escrow scam and nowadays is very careful to check out buyers that sound 
too good to be true. He says a Web search often reveals more than you'd 
expect about a buyer and he never sends items to an address that isn't con- 
firmed by eBay or PayPal. 

Patrick recommends that sellers "be totally honest in describing the item. 
Many eBayers hype up what they are selling, only for the purchaser to find 
they have not bought the item they expected". 



Bubblefast 



Member since May 1999; Feedback: 16,920; Positive Feedback 100% 

Marsha has a good story about Bubblefast: I first met the Bubblefast 'family' 
when I needed to move my mother's things from Florida to California. When I 
got the price quote from the moving company for rolls of cushioning, it was 
so high I nearly fell over! I knew that I could find a better price at eBay - and 
I did. Bubblefast prices were 50 percent less than the moving company had 
quoted, and they shipped the wrap directly to my mom's house so that I 
could meet it there to wrap her valuables. 

The Bubblefast business began with Robin and her husband Alan. Their first 
transaction at eBay took place in early 1999, when Alan bought a Macintosh 
computer. When it came to finally selling, Alan figured that all eBay sellers 
would need shipping supplies. At first, they sold just one product, a 150-foot 
roll of Vw inches (small size) bubble cushioning. Now they sell more than 65 
variations of 8 or 9 products: bubble cushioning, antistatic bubble, bubble 
bags, bubble-lined mailers, rolled shipping foam, boxes, sealing tape, and 
stretch film. 

Alan passed away in 2001, and Robin and her family carried on the business. 
On the bright side, Robin remarried and now (with a combined family) they 
have even more indentured employees. The Le Vine Family - Robin, Mark, 
Jenny (16), Steven (11), Sara (9), Michelle (20), Grandma Gloria - and family 
friends Syble and Billy, work closely together, putting in 70 to 80 hours a 
week. 

A seller with many repeat customers (more than 21,000 positives; repeat 
customers help build businesses!), they decided to branch out and go into 
consignment selling. They registered on eBay as Trading Assistants and 
now they're 'up to their eyeballs in new business'. It works out really well for 
them, because they're already in the shipping supply business. No package is 
a challenge! 



282 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



Mark uses Turbo Lister for the Bubblefast auctions. Fashion mavens Jenny 
and Michelle scrutinise and help write descriptions for consignment listings. 
Jenny also posts feedback several times a week. Robin still handles order 
entry and answers the phone and e-mail. Grandma Gloria, her friend Syble, 
and elf Billy handle the packing and shipping. They ship anywhere from 100 
to 200 orders a day - their total shipping bill is $25 to $30K month. The family 
has customers from around the world - they've shipped to every state in the 
US and internationally as far as Japan - who buy from their auctions (see 
Figure 18-3), eBay store, and Web site (www. bubblefast . com). Last year 
their business grossed $650,000. The profit margin in the Bubblefast products 
is low, so they have to make it up in volume. 





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eBay has totally changed this family's life. Alan used to say 'Our family is 
together all the time now; we've learned to pull together for a common goal.' 
It's still true today with the family business he started. 




The Le Vine family's tip for eBay sellers: 'If you want to create a thriving eBay 
business and are willing to put the time and energy into it, the possibilities 
are endless. With a minimal investment of money, you have the potential to 
reach the world! Treat every customer like you want to be treated. After all 
this time, the customer is still always right.' 



Chapter 18: Ten Successful eBay Sellers and Their Stories 2 S3 



/Posters 



Member since May 2002; Feedback 16227; Positive Feedback 99.8% 

Nick Talley, owner of UK-based print and poster business iPosters, believes 
the main benefit of eBay is that it opens your business to a huge potential 
customer base. He likens having an eBay presence to having a shop in every 
town across the Western world - a world where the little guys compete on 
the same footing as multi-national companies. 

Nick came to eBay.co.uk after 16 years running a same-day courier service, 
which he eventually gave up on because of the ever-rising tide of bills. He set 
up his own Web site www. pop-culture .biz (see Figure 18-4) and soon 
began posting selected items onto eBay.co.uk. To Nick, eBay seemed as good 
a way as any to make some extra cash. 



Figure 18-4: 

iPosters' 
home page. 



iposters Poster and Print Shop 



Maintained by: iposters ME227 W) S^ii'" "*= g< 

Brand New Posters Movie Posters Music Posters Scenic Poster Transport Posters Educational Posi*rs Coniemp'>rarj Fin? An AbsTraci Prinls Melal Signs Framing 
Service Movi? TV Collectable? Doctor vVh> Gc'lleclables World Globes Maps Japanese Chirashi Gift Service Worldwide Fast Shipping or all orders! 



.^\ ggwHitisa 

^K^^H^kf% ' SpliihKtion Suurcinlesil 

^^™Ej^E» ' Fr« Gift Mei*(j£je 5ervi< 

^jjjpF^ ■ ftil pt.ua Grctf-fi. S*iF>|v;rf 



B» Service 

S^ifiivirl WllWn lit Maun -.,. - - 
Arae Worldwide *hiDpkig« on AJI AddlttcoQl VoxreriS, prinft 



Cheque - Postal/ Money Order - Cash - Bank Transfer 



Search Our Shop 





Hi and welcome to ourj 


*ffj> 


Cool products great ' 




I saruite (ndifcr 




liMcfc Tsttey, 
[ Director. 



Telephone For Service, Help orfi" ^B*^^™ l ^IBIH Cred ' t Debit Card Payment's 
dlk UK Customers: 01449 770311 - International Customers: 0044 1449 770311 

Click on ii button helow to jump to the (le|inrtmeni. Look out foi h 
frames.. 




Four years and some big profits later, Nick believes the secret of his success 
is 'good old-fashioned customer service' and some great product lines. He 
also claims that many eBay sellers come across as unprofessional, a problem 
that he turned to his advantage with a sharp home page and snappy service. 




Nick says eBay's evolving rules and dealing with the taxman are two of the 
largest potential pitfalls for a business owner. Beat these by updating your 
accounts constantly and by checking up on eBay regulations on the 
announcements page. 



2SU 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



McMedia WD 



Member since July 2001; Feedback 22190; Positive Feedback 100% 

Sean McLane has been selling full-time on eBay.co.uk for less than two years, 
but he's built up a selling record and reputation that most eBayers would 
kill for. 

He joined eBay.co.uk in 2001 after quitting a successful 12-year career in the 
retail industry. The eBay shop came about almost by accident when Sean 
decided to upgrade his film collection to DVD and got rid of hundreds of old 
VHS videos on eBay. 

That got him thinking: why work for other people when you can turn your 
hobby (films and computers in this case) into a business and become your 
own boss? With a young family to support and care for, Sean saw working 
from home on his eBay business as the best solution (see Figure 18-5). 

Since then he's gradually stepped up the number and range of products on 
offer and has focused on getting the customer experience right - hence the 
perfect feedback score. He reckons McMedia offers a fast and professional 
service that bigger e-tail players cannot match but also, as a VAT registered 
business, has credibility that some eBayers lack. 



Figure 18-5: 

McMedia's 
eBay.co.uk 
home page 



UK BASED 

NEW DVD'S 

TOP QUALITY 



McMedia DVD 



Maintained by: use teiw uiL2 ") if - S™ «*= # 

A genuine UK seller of new and 100% original Region 2 DVDs '»iy Ebsj itore psc a wide range of top quality 
films at great prices, delivered quickly McMed^ DVD i» a legitimate VAT registered business. Action / 
Horror / Science Fiction / FhriHer /' Dram. 1 ; ■' Gpsci^l Ednicn / Children /Fsmiij :' Comedy 



Welcome To McMedia DVD 



You have arrived at one of the longest established DVD stores on Ebay UK. 

I am a true UK seller and every item you find here is 100% genuine and original product. 

McMedia is a legitimate VAT registered business and each purchase is handled quickly and professionally. wrim 

The DVD's are split into catagories on the left hand side for you to browse through. 

This store ships to the UK and Channel Islands only. 

Thankyou for looking. I really appreciate your visit and I'm confident you will find something to your liking. 



I 

W in titles & descriptions 
Search ] 

Sln.|. home 

■ Action and 
Adventure (4B3) 
Thrillers (217) 



vuci'i-H :■■■■■::.■■■ ■■-.■:■ i :!■:■,■■ -■■:■■■ ;-: v :P ■:■■:■.;■ 

f* NEW ■•UGI-Ori 

_J{ fnt.35 

Time Left: 14h48m27s 



■ THE PRINCE OF TIDES.. E a;;- ;i:v. --;,:■_:;:■:, h ■ 
DVD MEW 
£3.95 
Time Left: 8d11h 31 rnSQs 
gii all items... 



1972 items found in All Cnteyoi 
LisrViow | Picture Gallery 
QletnuLmdji im... Titia 



All lie ■■■: | -i..J' : i lO'i ■ ■nly | [?-,. v Ml": 

■il.iil J i ■,- - I T i ; ii'". ?.(i'J:\\C ■:.L'C'il>::-;.l^J 

f>.i>f Bilk ti,., I »{, - 



Chapter 18: Ten Successful eBay Sellers and Their Stories 2S3 



Despite his success, Sean is adamant that eBay is not a get rich quick solution. 
He puts his own achievements down to patience and dedication. He spent six 
months sourcing the right suppliers and says nowadays he spends more time 
'at work' than he did when he was an employee. The good news is that, despite 
the long hours he still gets to see much more of his wife and kids. 

He has some wise words for budding eBay tycoons: 'Selling on eBay full time 
works for me. It enables me to live my life the way I want to live it. But this 
would not suit everyone. It can be a lonely career, with no work colleagues, 
and a reduced social life. If you are going to do it, then go into it with your 
eyes open - having done your research and understanding fully that working 
for yourself is great, but you sacrifice a few things to do so. You need to be 
100% dedicated to it to make it work.' 



Metro$e_Stamp 



Member since March 1998; Feedback 8948; Positive Feedback 100% 

A while back, one of us (Marsha) needed a rubber stamp or two for her busi- 
ness and didn't have time to go out to a printing store and place an order. She 
thought surely someone on eBay sells custom rubber stamps! She was right. 
That's when Marsha met Jeff Stannard of Melrose Stamp Company. He spe- 
cialises in self-inking custom rubber stamps and also sells stock design 
stamps. 

Jeff was an assistant in a New York State economic development agency when 
he started his part-time business on eBay. Being around entrepreneurs gave 
him the inspiration he needed to quit his job and take his part-time sales to 
the next level. 

He's had his eBay store since 2001 (see Figure 18-6) and works the bus- 
iness himself with no employees. His biggest sale came from a Chamber of 
Commerce in South Carolina. They ordered 65 custom stamps to use for 
a promotional day, where various merchants stamp a customer's card 
indicating the customer visited the store during the promotional day. 

eBay has certainly changed his life. No longer a nine-to-fiver, Jeff works more 
than 60 hours a week. All his life he wanted to run his own business. 'My busi- 
ness model would fail if it were locally based only. With eBay, I'm living my 
dream and selling my products globally. It's a life of independence, free from 
the corporate rat race!' 



286 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



Figure 18-6: 

Just one 

category 

from 

Melrose_ 

Stamp's 

eBay store. 




Melrose Stamp Co 



Maintained by: rnelrose_siamp ( 4657 ^t ) " , 5£'s!!li!fr r **** * 

Your #1 source for custom rubber stamps on Ebay! Proudly featuring 
Ideal (tm) self-inking rubber stamps. Stock stamps for office and mail, 
refill ink too. Thank you! 



Custom Rubbei 
Stamps 



. 5tock Stamps Mail and . 
1 Office ' 



Refill Ink Supplies 



: -m .>. Results 



.625" x 1.625" 

Your cusiofn lead 
message nere 
Up tounree lines 
Best VaUie 7.90 



.;::.:.,■■■ > 





Black Ink 



fted Ink 



Rlep 1 : Chticisi: siamp size 

ai]d diuk il 
Step 2: Choose fom style 

(next page) 

"Scroti down this page to review 
font styles" 



Ideal 100 

.75" x 2.375" 

Your custom stamp text 

hers featuring, space 

to tit fdyr lines ol 

your text 

Most Popular 8.99 



Black Ink 



fihie Ink 



Red Ink 



Ideal 200 



.,.,-:- 



i:-,-.-'"l 



«*V~ 




Jeff's advice to new eBay sellers? 'Invest time to create a business plan. A 
business plan will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, threats 
and opportunities. Build into the plan a set of financial projections as well; 
this will help you to clearly identify investment and working capital needs. 
Treat your eBay operation as a real, sustainable business and you will go far!' 



Nobtespirit 



Member since September 1998, Feedback 15,270; Positive Feedback 99.1% 

Joe Cortese is a funny and creative guy, but we always wondered where his 
user ID came from. Joe was very close to his father, who passed away in 1995. 
His user ID at eBay was conceived as a tribute to his Dad, a 'noble spirit', Joe 
says 'through this name he is with me every day and guides me still'. 



Now that we've got you all misty-eyed, let us tell you how Joe got started 
on eBay. Joe's business was (and still is) centred around purchasing large 
estates and selling the contents to various dealers around the world. In 1997, 
on a train trip to Florida, he chatted with a fellow passenger who collected 
World War II memorabilia. The gentleman had a side business, selling pieces 
from his collection (and others) on eBay - something that Joe had never 
heard of. 



Chapter 18: Ten Successful eBay Sellers and Their Stories 28 / 



About a year later, Joe decided to give this eBay thing a whirl. A local auction- 
eer was helping sell off some of the contents of Joe's house, including a Civil 
War vest pocket bible with dated notations about battles. The auctioneer told 
Joe that it was worth only about $15 (about £9). Doubting the proposed 
value, Joe decided to sell the bible on eBay. When it sold for $375.00 (about 
S213), he was hooked. 

Joe is now the largest eBay seller of collectables on eBay - specialising in 
coins and stamps. He acquires merchandise and also takes collections on 
consignment. All his auctions are run with no reserve price (see Figure 18-7). 
'Selling at no reserve is the most exciting aspect but it requires fortitude, con- 
sistency, and diversity. We might sell a Barbie doll one day and a $10,000 
Ming Dynasty vase the next,' quips Joe. 

Joe even found time to develop with a programmer his own proprietary soft- 
ware, Meridian, to automate his auction business. You can read more about 
that on his Web site, www.noblespirit . com. 




Joe's tip for new sellers mirrors our thoughts exactly: 'Sell what you know, 
sell what you love. Those are the things you will sell best. Don't view eBay as 
a blanket golden opportunity to start a business unless you are prepared to 
make the same investment that you would be making to start that business in 
the real world.' 



Figure 18-7: 

One of 

Noblespirit's 

fascinating 

auctions - 

without a 

reserve! 




•'• : 



HUMJWI'I 



This is 3 fresh to the market 
I onetime event ! Onoe this is- 

gone to the lusty highest 
I bidder, it will simply not be 

repeated I 

'True No Reserve' is our 
company polity. We 
oorisistenlli; list l«iige 
quantities of imports nt S 
interesting items every' week 
at*NO RESERVE* 



k: 


Althou 


h. irue always attempt 


to take 


as many photographs 


asposs 


ble. it oan often be 


phvsioa 


ly impossible to show 


a fraoti 


n otthesignifioanoe 


of large 


r holdings regardless 


of the r 


undertaken. 


Howev 


r, whether you are 



eSpirlt Is e Bay's Number 1 - No Reserve Higrt Volume flalMium Poi 

( AfcClT UJ~| [ ff*TMIHTH [ SHIITIH6~] [ H EWS ~] 



NobleSpirit 


IMPORTANT GEM UNC Gold TYPE SET= 
$10,000! 




STOCK NUMBER 


P5J. 


THE PHOTO SECTIONbelow contain? 
33 photos. 


WEIGHT 


1 1(1 Pound* 



Tliis is mi exciting Uncirculated GOLD type set that lias 
enormous potential for the investor, speculator or collector. 

Estimate d NET final auction hammer price 
is expected to be in the legion of: $6000.00 to $7,000.00 

We approximate the Grey Sheet retailing in the region of 
$10,000,00, There are some astounding Gem BTJ examples 
here such as the St Gaudens, It is nearly flawless and must 



288 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



PresertationPubtishing 



Member since April 1998; Feedback 1,200; Positive Feedback: 99.9% 

Jillian Cline is not only a part-time seller on eBay, she trains dogs, writes 
books, and sells original dog products (books, cards, t-shirts, and other spe- 
cialty items) through her own dealer network at dog shows throughout the 
country and through ads in magazines. eBay is a natural extension of her 
business. 

She's also a collector and veteran eBay shopper. Her first transaction was 
buying a small bronze bulldog that was signed on the collar. She purchased it 
for half of what she had previously paid in an antique store for similar items. 
She now haunts eBay regularly for small bronze and metal bulldogs. She also 
purchased a framed, signed, and numbered Blue Dog lithograph by Louisiana 
artist George Rodrigue. She paid $1,800 on eBay and had it appraised recently 
for $8,000! 

Her own eBay store is open 24/7, even though running her business can be 
difficult. Her husband is often transferred, forcing her to move. It would be 
impossible for her to have a traditional job, but eBay allows her to conduct 
business wherever they go. 

She can run auctions (as in Figure 18-8) any time she likes. She used to have 
to spend her weekends schlepping her merchandise to dog shows and setting 
up a booth. With eBay she can display her pet products online and handle 
orders as they come in. Jillian also sells from her Web site, www. preservation 
publishing . com. 



Figure 18-8: 

A 

Preservation 

Publishing 

auction. 



Elegant Vintage Pit Bull blank Greeting cards 

This lot consists of 2 beautiful, top quality 5"x7" (finished size) cards are blank inside, so you can 

compose your personal messages - with matching envelopes. They're also ideal to frame and hang in 

your home as reminders of days gone by. They make great gifts tool 




Buyer to pay shipping & handling via First Class Mail of $1,75 (Add up to five additional packs for a 
low Priority Mail shipping rate of $4, Winner must submit payment within a w 



i a week of winning the iten 



Chapter 18: Ten Successful eBay Sellers and Their Stories 28 y 




Jillian says: 'Don't give up! Keep listing different items in auctions to draw 
people to your eBay store. Use cross-promotions and take advantage of 
eBay's occasional listing sale days. On those days test new products - and 
lots of them!' 



Vinyl lap 



Member since May 2000; Feedback 8230; Positive Feedback 99.9% 

With one of the best names we've come across on eBay.co.uk, Vinyl Tap is 
always going to attract attention. It's a mail order business with 20 years 
experience and several employees - not your average eBay punter. We've 
been in contact with Andrea Beevers, Vinyl Tap's eBay Co-ordinator (her title 
gives you some idea of the company's approach to eBay). 

Vinyl Tap started small, listing hard-to-find records here and there, but gradu- 
ally the business snowballed and in no time at all they became PowerSellers 
with customers in several countries. (See Figure 18-9.) 

According to Andrea, the secret of Vinyl Tap's success lies in its first rate cus- 
tomer service, which continues after the sale. It's pretty rare, for example, to 
see a full money-back guarantee being offered by an eBay seller. She also 
believes that good communication is of the utmost importance. 



Figure 18-9: 

Vinyl Tap's 

home page 

on 

eBay.co.uk 



V I Uunic JU/M 

VatlCMitrllDiQmJIMtt 4|£ 



(atv, tullrtlnlii- mill ilrli-lnl titijI. tih mill nu'iiiuinbillu 

Vim I Tip LuliltiJ. part ill' ViO|'lLj|l,i'l!ju 



Vinyl Tap Mail Order Music 



U, ill, l, mi,, I l,y: wnvHa iil Cffife#] ■ s"iT"« ■"» |< 

We are a UK based online mailorder record shop.We specialise in rare, deleted and promo items. We have 
sn 3Klensive stock of 7" singles j45sj, CD's, LP's, 12" singles, videos, posters, limited editions, picture discs 
imports, t-shirts and memorabilia. We ship all of our items worldwide. 



H 



1 Minerva Work.,.. Crosslev Lane. Kirkliston, Huddersfield, UK HD5 9SA 
T H l: +44 (0)14G4 421446 . ~-j\ +44 (0)1 4?4 5:31015 ^■ ^■imusic. co.uk 






k ™J r ijrV I Hu 



f*GISE(%E' 



Trusted Powersellers 



|7 in titles & descriptions 
Search 



Wuitim 



t-.-.|. l v' r ,l-<- 



■ Lihuts (239) 

■ 12" Reco rd'. i2-Ji9Bi 



■ Concert 
i-.V'/i.;-! .?!_■•; - : (SS4J 



With 20 Ysnis Experience Sellimj P.eceids. Cil's and Memc-iahili.i Woildwiile 

ap ■for iare records, cds. promos, memorabilia, posiers imports, limned scHtiaJis ,.cb&lst &d rarities and 



25060 items found in All Ci'eijinias 
List View | Picture Gallery 

Picture hide Hern Title 

r e3 TQRi AlylQS Irom the c i:u:.,ji'i ;:■::■_: ^:\~ 'j trench east we 



■* " .. ■ ■ .i. 

Sort |.y: |Tirn&. newiylisted 3 
Price Bids Time Listed ■■■ 

£30.00 Z&tfff*a* 12-Jan 22:10 



290 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



Discussing eBay's drawbacks, Andrea cites the unpredictability of 
customers - you can get 50 orders one day and five the next, she says. 
But the pros far outweigh the cons, especially now that millions of people 
around the world understand what eBay is all about. That's a pretty big 
market for any business,' she laughs. 



Chapter 19 

Ten Strategies to Sell Your 
Stuff Successfully 



In This Chapter 

Snapping pretty pictures 

Setting perfect pricing 

Selling yourself: writing the ultimate description 

Anything to add? 

Making sure you get paid 

Postage and packing 

Getting great feedback 



m Jkay, so we've given you an entire book on how to sell well, but this 
^^ chapter has the key pointers that you should take as gospel if you're 
going to be a success on eBayco.uk. Dan has quizzed some of the UK's most 
successful eBay sellers to find out the secrets of their success, most of which, 
as it turns out, are really simple - but hugely effective. 



Take Great Pictures 



To be a great eBay.co.uk seller, you've got to have great pictures. eBay sellers 
I've spoken to can't emphasise enough how important it is to get clear shots 
of what you're selling. After all, you can wax on forever about how good your 
item is, but if looks dodgy, then people ain't gonna bid on it! 

If you're serious (and you should be), think carefully about where you take 
your pictures. Good light is a must, and you can get this by investing in some 
basic lighting equipment or simply by using a room that enjoys good natural 
light. 



292 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



What's going on behind your item is also important. In terms of background, 
less is more. Ideally you want nothing at all, a white screen background is 
good for focusing attention on your item. A good rule of thumb is that if more 
is going on in the background than in the foreground, you may want to 
rearrange your set-up. 

You don't need an all-singing, all-dancing, 20-mega-pixel camera to get good 
shots - but it does have to be digital. If in doubt, ask around a few of your 
local photography shops which camera is best for posting online, then buy it 
on eBay. See Figure 19-1 for an example of a good snap. 

Chapter 11 offers advice on taking great digital pictures for online auctions. 
Keep the following checklist in mind as well to get the best out of your 
photography: 



v* Make sure there's lots of light. 

u* Remove anything attention-grabbing from the background. 

k" Position the item so that people can see it clearly. 

u* Take several photos and use the best ones. 

U* Don't use a camera phone; they make things look smudged. 



Figure 19-1: 

A nice 
picture from 

eBay.co.uk 
PowerSeller 

CodeNine. 




Crosshatch 
Simon Vatente 
Daniel Lei 
Other brands 




To recieve information on 

:j;^(:=j! LjnjMluililflS 



BN WT Daniel Lei M Mens SWT64 Zinthrough Sweat Navy 

MlllMtf 

Size: MEDIUM 

GLIOK HLPL FDfi hlBR UFaFWETIDII HBIIUT ElZIHfj 

Daniel Lei Sweat Shirt 

Daniel Lei is quickly becoming a popular brand with 
outstanding quality and design. 

This is a brand new top with tags and original 
packaging, 

A taste of the very latest styles that will be arriving 

• Full length zip Sweatshirt 

• Ribbed at Hern & Cuff. 

• Softfleeced lined cotton. 

• Very thick heavyweight jacket. 

• Wear with your favourite leans or for a clean 
style but casual look. 

We are now a confirmed trusted seller on EBay with 
over 8DDD transactions and Titanium power seller 
status. 




Chapter 19: Ten Strategies to Sell Your Stuff Successfully 293 

Assessing \lour Market - Witt It Sett) 

When it comes to researching your market on eBay.co.uk, normal business 
rules apply. If you don't put in some legwork before you set up your shop, 
you'll suffer in the long run. It's no good deciding to sell watches, for exam- 
ple, if there are already 100 full-time professional watch retailers pumping out 
high quality Rolexes, Casios and Swatches on the cheap. 

Just like any business, you have to make sure that there is a sufficient gap in 
your market and also that there's enough demand for what you want to sell. If 
not, then you may find yourself with a ton of unsold merchandise. 

The best way to conduct research is to check out who's already buying and 
selling your product lines on eBay.co.uk. A simple keyword search should suf- 
fice, along with a search of completed auctions so you can get a feel for your 
items' sale value. 

Ask yourself the following questions: who's selling the same product as you? 
How much for? How often are they doing it? At what time during the day and 
what day of the week are items most likely to get snapped up for a high 
price? 

By gaining a complete picture of your market before you start selling, you'll 
effectively hit the ground running. Trust us, it'll make you a better seller. See 
Chapter 7 for more tips on researching your market. 

Assessing \loursetf (Can \lou Do It)) 

Being inspired to set up an eBay.co.uk business is one thing, but committing 
to the business is quite another. When you see successful sellers making 
money it's tempting to copy them, but they are committed and you should 
be too. 

Being an eBay.co.uk PowerSeller is a high-pressure job. It is demanding on 
your time and energy -when you're not listing items and sending out parcels, 
you're answering queries and maintaining your Web site. Be prepared to put 
in the hours; if you're not happy with this commitment, then stop now! 



2% 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



Setting Perfect Pricing 



Price your items too high and you'll scare people away, but price them too 
low and people may doubt the quality of what you're selling. Pricing - like 
auction length - is an exact science in a variable eBay environment. You have 
to get it right, especially if you want to include a 'Buy it Now' price (see 
Chapter 10 for more info on this). 

Once again, the key to getting your price right is doing some research. Take a 
look at what price your item has gone for in the past, who bought it and when 
the auction ended. Use this info to set your own price, as well as your auction 
length and on what day it starts. See what I mean about exact science? 



describing \lour hems 



Another way of adding value to your auctions lies in how you describe the 
stuff you're selling. Of course, saying that an item is 'old and shabby' isn't 
going to earn it much interest from buyers, but over-egging it could have the 
same negative effect. 

Don't say it's the best thing since sliced bread unless it actually is. Be posi- 
tive and enthusiastic in your descriptions, by all means, but you must be real- 
istic too. 

Overstating the worth of your item may win you a few extra pounds initially, 
but you'll soon get a bad reputation and that small gain will be cancelled out 
by the cost of returns and negative feedback. 

When it comes to expensive auctions, like cars, furniture or holidays, the 
lengthier the description the better. People simply won't go for a description 
like, "car, very fast". They want to know about service history, mileage, add- 
ons and so on; few will risk bidding on something they know little about. 

Figure 19-2 is a good example of what you should include. 



Chapter 19: Ten Strategies to Sell Your Stuff Successfully 205 



Figure 19-2: 

The 
beginning 
section of 
an auction 
for a sparkly 
Mercedes 
Benz. 



ANOTHER STUNNING MERCEDES BENZ OFFERED BY ON OF EBAY'S BEST 
SUPPLIERS OF FINE JAGUAR AND SPECIALIST CARS !! 

Absolutely Stunning 

MERCEDES BENZ 500SL-32Y V8 CONVERTIBLE AUTO 

This is a tinly shuuihig example of a tine 90's Motoiiiu; Icon. 

141,000 Miles from new. suppoited by a full seivn-e history. 

Only 5 previous owners. 

Registered New on 02.10.1992 <K Reg) 

JJO 5S is NOT INC'LITPED IN THE S^T F - CAN BE PURCHASED SEPERATELY If RIOnRED 

SERVICE HISTORY - 22 Stamps AIL MAIN DEALER 

PDI 24.09.92 

EM2.1992-565 Miles 

25.01.1994 - (5.409 Miles 

12.05.1994 - 12,0"4 Miles 

24,08.1994 - 18,02" Miles 



Anything to Add? 



Simply write out your auction without any pictures, bold face or emphasis, 
and you probably won't get the right money. On a Web site where millions of 
items are sold every year, it's a good idea to make yours stand out. 

We talked about pictures earlier in this chapter, but it's worth restating their 
importance. While the phrase 'no picture, no sale' is not quite true, you can 
bet that plenty of potential buyers will skip over your auction unless it has a 
picture to draw their eye. 

A good rule of thumb is the more valuable your auction, the more money you 
should spend on it. If you're selling an expensive piece of antique furniture, 
then people are likely to want plenty of evidence that it is what you say it is. 

Depending on your item (and what your rivals are doing) you might want to 
add a few further frills: 



I** Listing it in bold face for 70p. Items in bold are eye-catching - as long as 
they're not surrounded by other bold typeface auctions. 



296 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



k" If you want to appear in your category's Featured Item section and in a 
bidder's search results use the FeaturedPlus! option. You can find it 
under featured auctions on the eBay.co.uk home page. 

v* Emphasise your listing with a purple coloured band. Be warned, this 
costs SI. 50 and will not help your auction stand out if other eBayers 
have the same idea. 



Making 'em Pay Up 



To avoid confusion, state your terms and conditions clearly on the auction. 
If you don't want your buyers to pay through PayPal, then say it explicitly - 
most buyers just assume you do. 

And, even if you do want them to pay through PayPal, it's good to give buyers 
at least one alternative method, say by cheque or postal order. That should 
guarantee that your auctions will be considered by the widest possible pool 
of people. 

When the auction ends, send the winning bidder a note thanking them for 
their interest and congratulating them on winning the auction. As an aside 
you should include an invoice for the full amount owed including postage 
and packaging. 

If there's no response, don't start threatening negative feedback - that'll get 
you nowhere - be patient and calm. Entice payment rather than demand it, 
and most people will oblige by sending you the money. Go to Chapter 12 for 
complete details of the payment process, including what to do if a bidder 
simply won't pay up. 



Packaging Precious Products 



If you want repeat business, make sure your customers get their items in one 
piece (unless, of course, they're buying a set). You don't have to go far on 
eBay.co.uk to find a seller with negative feedback because their stuff has 
arrived in bits. 

It's pretty straightforward really. If you're posting something that's fragile, 
then make sure it's not going to break. Polystyrene beads, egg boxes and 
cotton wool are your friends here - use them! 



Chapter 19: Ten Strategies to Sell Your Stuff Successfully 2^ 7 



If you're serious about developing customer loyalty, get some leaflets printed 
up and pop one in each parcel you send out. Big online retailers use this 
tactic to remind customers where they bought from and to show off other 
product lines - there's no reason why you shouldn't do the same. 



Keep Commimicatinq 



It's the best way to make customers feel relaxed. Imagine paying for an item 
(especially if it's expensive) and then hearing nothing for a week. You'd start 
to get nervous, wouldn't you!? It's best to allay these fears with a few well- 
timed updates informing your customer that you've received payment and 
the goods are in the post. 

Another nice touch is to send a message to your customer a week after post- 
ing them your item. You enquire whether they received it all right and if you 
could have done anything better, then refresh their memories about the rest 
of the stuff you have for sale. 



Sell Everything for£1 



If your cupboards are overflowing with stuff you can't sell, it might be time 
for a clear out. Stick it on eBay.co.uk at a starting bid of SI with no reserve 
and see what happens! 



298 



Part V: The Part of Tens 



Appendix A 

Glossary 



About Me page: The free Web page given to every eBay.co.uk user. An excel- 
lent promotional tool. 

absentee bid: A bid that an auctioneer places on a lot (or lots) - up to a maxi- 
mum amount that you designate - in your absence. When you want to partici- 
pate in a live auction but can't attend it physically, you can pre-arrange to 
have the saleroom place absentee bids for you. 

accounts payable: The amount your business owes to vendors, office supply 
stores, your credit card charges, and the like. This includes any money your 
business owes. 

accounts receivable: The money people owe you, such as the cheques and 
money orders you're expecting in the post; the money sitting in your PayPal 
account that you haven't transferred to your checking account. 

chartered certified accountant: Someone who has been educated in 
accounting and has passed the relevant examinations. Accredited chartered 
accountants are at the top of the accounting professional heap. 

announcements pages: eBay.co.uk pages where you get all the latest eBay 
information. You need to check these pages periodically. If you follow the 
Announcements link, which is at the bottom of every eBay page, you end up 
at the Community announcements page at http: //www2 .ebay.com/aw/ 
marketing-uk. shtml?ssPageName=f : f :UK. 

as is/where is: An item that comes with no warranty, implied or otherwise, 
regarding the merchantability of the product. 

bid increment: The amount that a bid must advance, based on the auction's 
high bid. 

bid retraction: A cancelled auction bid. Retractions can occur only under 
extreme circumstances (such as when you type the wrong numerals). 



j(/0 Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



bid shielding: An illegal process wherein two bidders work together to 
defraud a seller out of high bids by retracting a bid at the last minute and 
granting a confederate's low bid the win. Not as much of an issue anymore 
due to eBay's new bid retraction policy; see also bid retraction. 

bonding: A surety bond can be issued by a third party (usually an insurance 
company) to guarantee a seller's performance in a transaction. 

card not present: Credit card services use this term to describe transactions 
that typically happen over the Internet or by mail order. The term means that 
the seller hasn't seen the actual card. 

caveat emptor: Latin for let the buyer beware. If you see this phrase posted 
anywhere, proceed cautiously - you're responsible for the outcome of any 
transaction in which you take part. 

chargeback: When someone calls his or her credit card company and refuses 
to pay for a transaction. The credit card company will credit the card in ques- 
tion while making you pay back the amount. 

consignment: When someone hands over merchandise to you, which you 
then auction on eBay.co.uk. You make a little commission and the other 
person sells something without the hassle. 

corporation: A separate entity set up to do business. 

DBA: Doing business as. These letters appear next to the common name of a 
business entity, sole trader, partnership, or corporation that conducts busi- 
ness under a fictitious name. 

DOA: Dead on arrival. The product you purchased doesn't work from the 
moment you opened the package. 

DUNS number: Data Universal Numbering System number. An identification 
number issued to businesses from a database maintained by the great and 
powerful Dun and Bradstreet. These numbers are issued to allow your busi- 
ness to register with more than 50 global, industry, and trade associations, 
including the United Nations, the US Federal Government, the Australian 
Government, and the European Commission. You can get your number at no 
cost by logging on towww.dnb.com/US/duns_update/. 

entrepreneur: You! An entrepreneur is someone who takes the financial risk 
to start a business. Even if you're buying and reselling car boot sale items, 
you're still an entrepreneur. 



Appendix A: Glossary jO / 



FTP: File Transfer Protocol. The protocol used to transfer files from one 
server to another. 

hammer fee: A fee that the auction house charges at a live auction. Read the 
information pack before you bid on an item in a live auction. Hammer fees 
usually add 10-15 per cent to the amount of your bid. 

HTF: Hard to find. An abbreviation that commonly appears in eBay.co.uk auc- 
tion titles to describe items that are, uh, hard to find. 

invoice: A bill that outlines the items in a specific transaction; who the item 
is sold to, and all costs involved. 

ISBN: International Standard Book Number. Just like a car's licence plate 
number, the ISBN identifies a book by a universal number. 

keystone: In the bricks-and-mortar retailing world, 100 per cent mark-up. A 
product sells for keystone if it sells for twice the wholesale price. Products 
that you can sell at keystone are very nice to find. 

mannequin: A representation of the human form made of wood, fibreglass, or 
plastic. Essential for modelling clothing for your eBay.co.uk apparel sales. 

MIB: Mint in box. Okay, the item inside the box is mint, but the box looks like 
a car drove over it. 

MIMB: Mint in mint box. Not only is the item in mint condition, so is the box 
it comes in. 

mint: An item in perfect condition is described as mint. This is truly a subjec- 
tive opinion, usually based on individual standards. 

MSRP: Manufacturers suggested retail price. The price hardly anybody pays. 

NARU: Not a registered user. A user of eBay.co.uk or other online community 
who has been suspended (for any number of reasons). 

OOP: Out of print. When a book or CD is being published, it usually has its 
own lifetime in the manufacturing process - and is OOP when no longer 
being made. 

provenance: The story behind an item, including who owned it and where it 
came from. If you have an interesting provenance for one of your items, put it 
in the auction description because it adds considerable value to the item. 



j(/2 Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



QuickBooks: A top-of-the-heap accounting program that helps you to keep 
your records straight. 

register: Similar to a chequebook account listing, QuickBooks keeps registers 
that go up and down depending on the amount of flow in an account balance. 

ROI: Return on investment. A figure expressed as a percentage that stands 
for your net profit after taxes and your own equity. 

sniping: The act (or fine art) of bidding at the very last possible second of an 
auction. 

sole trader: A business owned by only one person; the profits and losses are 
recorded on that person's personal tax return. 

split transaction: A transaction that you must assign to more than one cate- 
gory. If you pay a credit card bill and a portion of the bill went to purchased 
merchandise, a portion to petrol for business-related outings, and yet 
another portion to eBay.co.uk fees, you must post each amount to its own 
category. 

tax deduction: An expenditure on your part that represents a normal and 
necessary expense for your business. Before you get carried away and 
assume that every penny you spend is a write-off (deduction), check with 
your accountant to outline exactly what is and what isn't. 

TOS: Terms of service. eBay.co.uk has a TOS agreement; check it out at 

pages . ebay . co . uk/help/newtoebay/about_user_agreement . html. 

wholesale: Products sold to retailers (you!) at a price above the manufac- 
turer's cost, allowing for a mark-up to retail. We hope you buy most of your 
merchandise at wholesale. Shops such as Costco sell items in bulk at prices 
marginally over wholesale. 



Appendix B 

The Hows and Whys 
of a Home Network 



MM JhaX is a network? A network is a way to connect computers so that 
▼ ▼ they can communicate with each other - as if they were one giant 
computer with different terminals. The best part is that a network enables 
high-speed Internet connection sharing, as well as the sharing of printers and 
other peripherals. By setting up a computer network, one computer may run 
bookkeeping, another can run a graphics server, and others may be used as 
personal PCs for different users. From each networked computer, programs 
and files on all other networked computers can be accessed. 

Today's technologies allow you to perform this same miracle on the home 
network. You can connect as many computers as you like, and run your busi- 
ness from anywhere in your home - you can even hook up your laptop from 
the bedroom if you don't feel like getting out of bed. 

Now for the whys of a home network. A network is a convenient way to run a 
business. All big companies use a network, and so should you. You can print 
your postage, for example, on one printer from any computer in your home 
or office. You can extend your DSL line or Internet cable connection so that 
you can use it anywhere in your home - as well as in your office. 

In a network, you can set certain directories in each computer to be shared. 
That way, other computers on the network can access those directories. You 
can also password-protect certain files and directories to prevent others - 
your children or your employees - from accessing them. 

We devote the rest of this appendix to a quick and dirty discussion of home 
networks installed on Windows-based PCs. We give you a lesson on what we 
know works for most people. At this point, we want to remind you that we're 
not techno-whizzes (just like we're not lawyers or accountants). For more 
information about home networking, see Home Networking For Dummies by 
Kathy Ivens (Wiley). 



jQii Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



What we know about home networks, we've found out the hard way - from 
the school of hard knocks. A lot of research went into this appendix as well, 
so humour us and read on. 



Variations of a Home NeWork 



You have a choice of four types of home network: Ethernet, powerline, home 
phoneline, and wireless. See Table B-l for a quick rundown of some pros and 
cons of each. 



Table B-1 


Types of Network Pros and Cons 


Type 


Pros 


Cons 


Traditional Ethernet* 


Fast, cheap, and easy set-up 


Computers and printers 
must be hardwired; cables 
run everywhere 


Home phoneline 


Fast; runs over your 
home phone lines 


Old wiring or not enough 
phone jacks maybe a 
drawback 


Powerline 


Fast; your home is already 
pre-wired with outlets 


Electrical interference may 
degrade the signal 



Wireless network* 



Pretty fast; wireless (no 
ugly cords to deal with) 



Expensive; may not be reli- 
able because of interfer- 
ence from home electrical 
devices 



*Connects computers with high quality cable over a maximum of 328 feet of cabling. 

**Several types of wireless are available. See 'Hooking Up with Wireless' later in this 
chapter. 



The home phoneline network is fading in popularity because people don't 
have enough phone jacks in their house to make it an easy proposition. 



The wireless network is currently the hot ticket and highly touted by the geek 
gurus. However, the wireless signal may experience interference because the 
network runs with the same 2.4 GHz technology as some home wireless tele- 
phones. We have a wireless network as a secondary network, and it works, 
sort of. Our primary network is a hybrid, combining Ethernet, home phone- 
line, and wireless. 



Appendix B: The Hows and Whys of a Home Network HO 3 



With broadband over powerline, you get high-speed Internet directly into 
your home electrical system. Just plug in your powerline boxes (see the sec- 
tion 'Powerline network', later in this appendix) and you're up and running! 

All networks need the following two devices: 




i*" Router: A router allows you to share a single Internet IP address among 
multiple computers. A router does exactly what its name implies; it 
routes signals and data to the different computers on your network. If 
you have one computer, the router can act as a firewall or even a net- 
work device leading to a print server (a gizmo that attaches to your 
router and allows you to print directly to a printer without having 
another computer on). 

v* Modem: You need a modem for Internet connection. You get one from 
your cable or phone company and plug it into an outlet with cable Gust 
like your TV) or into a special phone jack if you have DSL. The modem 
connects to your router with an Ethernet cable. 

If you have broadband, you don't even need to have a main computer turned 
on to access the connection anywhere in your house. If you keep a printer 
turned on (and have a print server), you can also connect that to your router 
and print from your laptop in another room - right through the network. 



Before touching your network card or opening your computer to install any- 
thing, touch a grounded metal object to free yourself of static electricity. 
Otherwise, a spark could go from your hand to the delicate components on 
the network card or another card, thereby rendering the card useless. Better 
yet, go to an electronics shop and purchase a wrist-grounding strap that has 
a cord with a gator clip, which you clip to a metal part of the computer 
before touching anything inside for safety. 



Potfertine netu/ork 



An ingenious invention, a powerline network uses your existing home power- 
lines to carry your network and your high-speed Internet connection. You 
access the network by plugging a powerline adapter from your computer into 
an electrical outlet on the wall. Powerline networks have been around for a 
while and are in the second round of technological advances. 

Hooking up a powerline network is incredibly easy. Most installations work 
immediately straight out of the box. Figure B-l shows you the base set-up. 
Computers in any other rooms need only a powerline bridge adapter with an 
Ethernet cable to a network card. 



3 V Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Home office 



Figure B-1: 

Tha main 

computer 

setup for a 

powerline 

network. 




Cable/DSL 
Modem 



Router 



To set up a powerline network, you need the following (in addition to a router 
and modem): 



v* Electrical outlets: We bet you have more than one in each room of your 
house. 

v* An Ethernet card for each computer: Many new computers already 
have an Ethernet card. If your computer doesn't, you can get inexpen- 
sive Ethernet cards for around 510. 

v* Powerline Ethernet bridge for each computer: You plug an Ethernet 
cable from your computer into the powerline Ethernet bridge, and then 
plug Netgear's Ethernet bridge into a wall outlet. 

Hooking up the powerline network goes like this: 

1. The high-speed connection comes in through your DSL or cable line. 

2. Plug the cable line (or phoneline for DSL) into your modem. 

3. Connect one 'in' Ethernet cable from your modem to a router. 

4. Connect one 'out' Ethernet cable from the router to a local computer. 

5. Connect another 'out' Ethernet cable to the powerline adapter. 

6. Plug the powerline box into a convenient wall outlet. 



Home phoneline 



Wall telephone cabling in the average home contains four wires, and your 
telephone uses only a portion of two. Plenty more room exists in the cable 



Appendix B: The Hows and Whys of a Home Network jOi 



for your network. Figure B-2 shows you what the typical home phoneline set- 
up looks like. 



Figure B-2: 


/ 
/ 


A broadband 


/ 


sharing 


/ 
/ 

/ 


home 


phoneline 


/ 


setup. 


Gateway/Router 




with HPNA 




Computer 



HPNA USB or PCI adapter 




The phoneline network sends data at a speedy 10MB per second (the same 
speed as a regular Ethernet network) and can operate with computers or 
other equipment placed as far as 1,000 feet apart and will work in homes as 
large as 10,000 square feet. Best of all, you can talk on the same phoneline 
without causing any interference. 

To set up your network to carry files and your high-speed connection 
throughout your house, you need some extra hardware: 



«*" Bridge: A device that connects your Ethernet (router connection) with 
your powerline network. You can get a device that combines the router 
and the bridge. 

v* HPNA network adapter for each computer: You need an adapter that 
enables your computer to become one with other computers on the net- 
work. These adapters are available also as a USB device, eliminating the 
need to install a card in your computer. 

v* Phone jacks: Pretty essential for plugging in the phone wire from the 
adapter. 



To install a home phoneline network, just follow these steps (but follow your 
manufacturer's instructions if they vary from this information). 



308 Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 




c^BE/f 




If you're installing a USB (universal serial bus) adapter, don't bother trying to 
open your computer. Just plug in the adapter to an available USB port and 
proceed to Step 5. 

1. Turn off your computer and disconnect its power cord. 

2. Open the cover of your computer. 

3. Install the network card in an available slot. 

Touch the card only by the metal part on its outside edge. When 
installing the card, press firmly down on the top of the card with your 
thumb to properly seat the card in the slot. Fasten the card to the chas- 
sis by tightening the screw on the metal edge. 

4. Replace the cover on your PC and reconnect the power cord. 

5. Connect one end of the (RJ-1 1) telephone cord that came with your 
network card to the port labelled To Wall on the card, and plug the 
other end into a convenient wall telephone jack. 

If you have a telephone that needs to use that wall jack, connect the 
cord to the port labelled To Phone; your phone will work through the 
network card. 

6. Power up your computer. 

If you're lucky, your computer will see the new hardware and ask you to 
install the driver. If you're not lucky, check the instructions (as a last-ditch 
effort, you can always read the instructions!) for troubleshooting tips. 

7. When asked, insert the CD or the disk that came with the card (con- 
taining those tricky drivers) and follow the on-screen instructions. 

As you go through the instructions, decide on a name for each computer 
that you want to install on the network. 

8. Set up directories that you want shared on the network. 

Go to My Computer, select the directories (denoted by folder icons) that 
you want to share, right-click, and indicate that you want to share these 
directories with other computers on the network. Do the same with your 
local printers. 

9. Repeat Steps 1-8 on each computer. 

As you add a computer, double-check that it can communicate with the 
other computers that you've already installed on the network by trying 
to open a shared directory on a remote computer and printing a test 
page on a remote printer. 

10. If your network is not functioning properly after you complete all rec- 
ommended steps, call technical support as many times as necessary to 
get your network up and running. 



Appendix B: The Hows and Whys of a Home Network ^Oy 



When your network connection is flying and working flawlessly, you can 
add your broadband. 

11. To install the broadband connection, take the Ethernet cable from the 
modem and connect it to the back of your router. Then connect another 
Ethernet cable from the router to the phoneline network bridge. 

12. Connect the phoneline that comes with your bridge from the bridge to 
a telephone wall jack. 

Hey presto - you should be able to go with your Internet connection on 
all the computers in your network. 

The wall connectors each have an outlet for a telephone cord that you plug 
into your wall jack. (You can also cheat in one room and connect two com- 
puters to one phone jack with a splitter that makes two jacks out of one.) 



Hooking up With Wireless 

Wireless networking - also known as WiFi or, to the more technically inclined, 
IEEE 802.11 - is the hot new technology for all kinds of networks. Wireless 
networking is an impressive system when it works, with no cables or connec- 
tors to bog you down. 

If you're concerned about your next-door neighbour hacking into your com- 
puter through your wireless connection - stop worrying. Wireless networks 
are protected by their own brand of security, called WEP (or Wired Equivalent 
Privacy). WEP encrypts your wireless transmissions and prevent others from 
getting into your network. Although super-hackers have cracked it, WEP is 
still the best possible system at present. 

To link your laptop or desktop to a wireless network with WEP encryption, 
you enter a key code from the wireless access point. Just enter the code into 
your wireless card software on every computer that uses the network, and 
you should be able to link up. 

You may get confused when you see the different types of wireless available. 
The following list provides the low-down on the variations: 

802.11a: This wireless format works really well - fast with good connec- 
tivity. Unfortunately, this format is also very expensive. 802.11a is used 
when you have to connect a large group, such as at a convention centre 
or in a dormitory. The format delivers data at speeds as high as 54 Mbps 
(megabits per second). It runs at the 5 GHz band (hence its nickname 
WiFi5), so it doesn't have any competition for bandwidth with wireless 
phones or microwave ovens. 



3 7 Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 




v* 802.11b: This wireless type is the most common, and is used on the 
most platforms. It travels over the 2.4 GHz band. The 802.11b version is 
slower than the 802.11a version, transferring data at only 11 Mbps. 
However, the 802.11b is a solid, low-cost solution when you have no 
more than 32 users per access point. 

The lower frequency of 2.4 GHz drains less power from laptops and 
other portable devices, so laptop batteries will last longer. Also, 2.4 GHz 
signals travel farther and can work through walls and floors more effec- 
tively than 5 GHz signals. 

Ie* 802.1 lg: This format is the newest type based on the 2.4 GHz band. The 
802.1 lg speeds data up to a possible 54 Mbps, and is backward compati- 
ble with 802.11b service. 

Installing your wireless network isn't a gut-wrenching experience either 
(although it can be if the signal doesn't reach where you want it). You hook 
up your computer (a laptop works best) to the wireless access point (the 
gizmo with the antenna that broadcasts your signal throughout your home or 
office) to perform some set-up tasks such as choosing your channel and set- 
ting up your WEP code. (The wireless access point comes with its own 
instructions.) 

After you complete the set-up and turn on your wireless access point, you 
have a WiFi hotspot in your home or office. Typically, a hotspot provides cov- 
erage for about 100 feet in all directions, although walls and floors cut down 
on the range. 

Here are some simplified steps on configuring your network: 

1. Run a cable from your cable connection or a phone cord from your 
DSL line to your modem. 

2. Connect one Ethernet cable from your modem to your router. 

3. Connect one Ethernet cable to your wireless access point. 

Take a look at this network diagram from Netgear in Figure B-3. 



Appendix B: The Hows and Whys of a Home Network j / / 




Notebook PC with 

802.1 1b Wireless 

PC Card 





Desktop PC with 

802.11g Wireless 

USB Adapter 

802.1 1g Wireless 

Access Point •;::-' :::: '.':- 



Figure B-3: 




Atypical 
home 


Cable/DSL 


wireless 


Modem 


network. 





Firewall 
Router 




Desktop PC with 

802.1 1g Wireless 

PCI Adapter 



Internet Security and 
l/our Home Network 



A dial-up connection exposes your computer to the Internet only when you 
dial up and get connected. Most broadband Internet connections are always 
on, which means your computer is always exposed. Shield your computer 
with a strong firewall and an antivirus program. 



j J 2 Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 

firewall software 



When you're connected to the Internet, you're exposed not only to hackers 
but also to threats such as Trojan horses, programs that can get into your 
computer when you innocently view an infected Web site. Once inside your 
computer, the Trojan horse, like ET, phones home. From there, an evil-deed- 
doer, now with a direct line to your computer, may be able to wreak havoc 
with your precious data. 

If you're technically inclined - and even if you're not - visit the Web site for 
Gibson Research Corporation (www. grc . com). Gibson Research is the brain- 
child of an early PC pioneer, Steve Gibson, who's renowned as a genius in the 
world of codes and programming. Steve is the expert when it comes to expos- 
ing the vulnerabilities of systems over the Internet. A few free diagnostic 
programs on this site will check your computer's vulnerability to Internet 
threats. 

Shields Up and LeakTest are programs that test your computer and terrify 
you with results that expose the vulnerability of your Internet connection. We 
learned about ZoneAlarm on Steve's site. This free program has won every 
major award in the industry as the most secure software firewall. If your 
main concern is safety, visit www. zone labs . com for a free download of 
ZoneAlarm. 



Antivirus software 



Even if you have a firewall, you still need antivirus software to protect you 
from the idiots who think sending destructive code through e-mail is fun. The 
leading programs in this area are Norton Antivirus and McAfee. One of the 
problems inherent in buying software is that you may be urged to load much 
more than you need onto your computer. If all you need is an antivirus soft- 
ware, purchase only an antivirus software. But don't delay. Buy the software 
now and update the antivirus files each week so that you're fully protected 
from the latest viruses. 



Index 



•N umbers • 

100% markup (keystone), 301 
3-D items, scanning, 205-206 

•A • 

About Me page 

creating, 27, 66 

described, 27, 65, 299 

linking to your Web site, 158 

rules for linking from, 50 

sample page, 66 
About the Seller page, 105, 115 
Abovethemall (eBay store), 279-280 
absentee bid, 299 
AC adapter, 199 
account liability balance, 256 
accountants, charted certified, 299 
accounts payable, 299 
accounts receivable, 256, 299 
Accredited Registrar Directory, 156 
accrual basis accounting, 259 
Add New Seller link, 63 
Add Note button, 55-56 
Add to Favourites link, 62 
Add to watch list link, 58 
Address Verification Service (AVS), 224 
adhesive remover, 205 
Advanced Search link, 141, 182 
advertising. See marketing 
age requirement for eBay users, 94 
alcohol, as a collectible, 84 
All Buying page 

Add Note button, 55-56 

Bidding Totals box, 55 

Items I'm Bidding On, 54-56 

Items I'm Watching, 57-58 

Items I've Won, 56-57 

My Max Bid column, 55 

sample page, 54 

Won and Didn't Win, 55 



All Favourites page, 61-63 

All featured items link, 185 

All Selling page, 58-61 

Amazon (online shop), 104 

Andale (auction management service), 

177-178, 189 
announcements page, 299 
antivirus software, 312 
appraisals, online, 145 
art rubber, 205 
as is/where is, 128, 299 
Ask a seller a question link, 214 
auction management services. See also 
automation 

Andale, 177-178, 189 

choosing, 175-176 

fees, 176 

IDS Auction Information Data Systems, 
178-179 

uptime reliability and, 175 

as Web hosting provider, 207 
auction management software 

described, 25 

Selling Manager, 169, 179 

Turbo Lister, 11,75, 180 

uploading images with, 207 
Auction Software Review 

(US Web site), 165 
Auctionpix.co.uk (image hosting 

service), 174 
auctions. See also bidding; eBay Motors 
UK; Properties category 

buying for resale at, 125-127 

charity, 48, 49, 127 

choice, 46-47 

duplicate, 47 

Dutch (multiple-item), 37-38 

e-mails, sending and receiving, 169-170 

ending your listing early, 68 

featured on My eBay home page, 184-185 

gallery photos linked to, 169 

government, 126 

hammer fees, 125, 301 



3 / H Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



auctions (continued) 

linking, rules for, 49-50 

linking to eBay Shops UK, 115 

liquidation, 126 

marketing for, 44-45 

opening and closing, 42-44, 62 

private, 40 

reserve price, 33, 38-40, 192, 287 

searching, 138, 141-143 

Second Chance Offer, 45-46 

starting bids, 41-42 

traditional, 36 
authentication services, 145-146 
autographs, 83, 205 

automation. See also auction management 
services 

bulk items, 171-172 

buyer information, tracking, 174-175 

checking out, 174 

customised reports, generating, 175 

e-mail management, 169 

end-of-auction e-mails, 170 

feedback submissions, 175 

gallery photos, 168-169 

HTML generation, 170-171 

inventory management, 170 

photo hosting, 174, 206-209 

posting and relisting items, 171-172 

tracking your listings, 172-173 

uploading images, 166-167 
automobile. See Motors UK category 
AVS (Address Verification Service), 224 



B 



backgrounds for images, 203-205 

banker's drafts, 219-220 

banner ad exchanges, 158-161 

banner design, 159 

batteries, rechargeable, 199 

beeswax, 203 

Beevers, Andrea (owner of Vinyl Tap), 

289-290 
beginning an eBay business. See starting 

an eBay business 



bid increment, 299 
bid retraction, 90, 299 
bid shielding, 90, 300 
bidder-management tools 

blocking buyers, 68-69, 70, 91 

Buyer Requirements, 70 

cancelling bids, 67-68 

ending your listing early, 68 

pre-approving bidders, 69 
bidders. See also buyers 

blocking, 68-69, 70, 91 

Buyer Requirements, 70 

checking feedback on, 223 

non-paying bidder notice, 46, 217 

pre-approving, 69 

reinstating, 69 

underage, 94 
bidding. See also All Buying page 

absentee bid, 299 

bid increment, 299 

bid retraction, 90, 299 

bid shielding violation, 90, 300 

cancelling bids, 67-68 

proxy bidding system, 41-42 

starting bids, 41-42 
Bidding Totals box, 55 
blocking a buyer, 68-69, 70, 91 
bold face, 188, 295 
bonding, 300 

bookkeeper, hiring, 255-256 
bookkeeping. See also QuickBooks 
(accounting software) 

account liability balance, 256 

accounts payable, 299 

accounts receivable, 256, 299 

accrual versus cash basis, 259 

basics of, 249-251 

budget, 181, 182 

cash balance, 256 

chart of accounts, 258, 259-265 

chequebook reconciliation, 255 

credit card statements, 253 

daily calendar, 253 

double-entry, 250-251 

invoices, 252 

length of time to keep records, 254 



Index 



315 



receipts, 252 

register, 302 

software for, 26, 254-255 

split transaction, 302 
books, 17,205 
boxes, 268-269, 273 
brand names, misusing, 48 
British Philatelic Trust (authentication 

service), 146 
broadband checker (Web site), 20, 21 
bubble wrap, 271 

Bubblefast (shipping supplier), 23, 281-282 
budget, 181, 182 
bulk items 

automatically relisting, 171-172 

buying for resale, 124 

private auction for, 40 

storage issues, 14 
business cards, 253 
Business Centre, eBay.co.uk, 76 
business format 

choosing, 243-244 

corporation, 246-247 

limited company, 245-246 

partnership business, 245 

sole trader business, 244 
business plan, 286 
business registration service, 

eBay.co.uk, 77 
Buy It Now feature, 191-192 
Buyer Protection Programme, 220 
Buyer Requirements, 70 
buyers. See also All Buying page; bidders; 
communicating with customers; 
customer service 

blocking, 68-69, 70, 91 

caveat emptor (let the buyer 
beware), 300 

contact information, 93-94 

fraud protection for, 75 

leaving feedback for, 217 

non-paying, 91-93 

reinstating, 69 

tracking, 174-175 

unpredictability of, 289 

user ID and feedback rating, 60 



buyer's premium, 125 
buying for resale. See also All Buying page; 
deciding what to sell 

auctions, 125-127 

bulk items, 124 

car boot sales, 123-124 

Cash & Carry stores, 134 

consignment sales, 32, 134-135, 300 

Costco, 123-124 

on eBay.co.uk, 133-134 

freebies, 127-128 

garage sales, 124-125 

going-out-of-business sales, 125 

items by the pallet, 130-132 

job lots, 132 

Poundstretcher, 122 

salvage merchandise, 128-130 

shipping costs and, 131 

time spent in, 11 

The Trader (magazine), 122-123 

wholesale merchandise, 130, 133-134, 302 



calculator, 194 

cancelling bids, 67-68 

car boot sales, 123-124 

card not present, 300 

cardboard storage boxes, 268-269 

cars. See eBay Motors UK 

Cash & Carry stores, 134 

cash balance, 256 

cash basis accounting, 259 

cash payments, 220 

categories of merchandise. See also specific 
categories 
category finder feature, 30, 31 
Category Overview page, 30 
for eBay Shops UK, 110, 114 
favourite categories page, 62 
placing items in, 29-31, 182-183 
wholesale merchandise, 130, 133-134, 302 

caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), 300 

CDs, 17 

chargebacks, 300 



3 / v Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



charity auctions, 48, 49, 127 

Charity Fundraising home page, 48, 49 

chart of accounts, 258, 259-265 

checking out, eBay Shops UK, 174 

chequebook reconciliation, 255 

cheques, 220 

choice auctions, 46-47 

Classic Record Collector (magazine), 144 

cleaning products 

Dryel Fabric Care System, 201, 270 

Febreeze (fabric care product), 270 

Goo Gone, 270 

musty odour removal, 201, 270 

un-du, 270 

WD-40, 205, 270 
Cline, Jillian (owner of Preservation 

Publishing), 288-289 
clothing 

children's, 18 

deciding to sell, 14-15 

Dryel Fabric Care System, 201, 270 

photographing, 200-202 

removing musty odours, 201, 270 

steaming out wrinkles, 201-202 
Cloud Dome (photography tool), 200, 204 
coins 

grading, 145, 146 

at Noblespirit (eBay store), 286-287 

photographing, 200 
collectibles. See also specific collectibles 

deciding to sell, 14 

hub with links, 15 

at Noblespirit (eBay store), 286-287 

Web sites, 144-145 
The Collector (magazine), 144 
Collier, Marsha (eBay Timesauing 

Techniques For Dummies'), 43, 135, 171 
Comment bubble icon, 61 
communicating with customers. See also 
e-mail 

end-of-auction e-mails, 170 

importance of updates for, 297 

initial customer inquiry, 214 

leaving feedback for buyers, 217 

non-paying bidder notice, 46, 217 



payment received and shipping notice, 
217-218 

payment reminders, 216-217 

professionalism in, 211, 213 

sales pitches and, 214 

thank you note to winners, 296 

tips for, 296, 297 

winner's notification letter, 169, 215-216 

"Your item is on its way" e-mail, 218 
computers 

for home office, 19-20 

reselling, 129 
comScore Media Metrix (Web site 

tracker), 104 
consignment sales, 32, 134-135, 300 
contact information 

business Web site, 157 

eBay users, 93-94 

phishing for, 95 
contracts, online, 248 
corporation, 246-247 
Cortese, Joe (owner of Noblespirit), 

286-287 
Costco, 123-124 
costs. See also fees 

digital camera, 198 

HTML Web software, 150 

image-editing software, 206 

Jiffy Steamer, 202 

lighting for photo studio, 200 

QuickBooks Pro, 255 

shipping, 131, 234-235, 237 
counters, for tracking visitors, 177, 188-189 
credit cards. See also merchant accounts 

card not present, 300 

chargebacks, 300 

fees, 223, 224, 225 

PayPal security measures, 230 

statements, 253 
currency conversion, Web site, 222 
customer service. See also communicating 
with customers 

combining postage cost and, 216 

developing customer loyalty, 297 

eBay Shops UK and, 114 

importance of, 289 



Index 



317 



for PowerSellers, 74 
professionalism in, 211, 213 
tips for, 282 
customers. See bidders; buyers; 
communicating with customers; 
customer service 
CuteFTP, 167 

CuteHTML (Web page software), 25, 150, 
171,210 



D 



data transfer, 151 

Data Universal Numbering System number 

(DUNS number), 300 
DBA (doing business as), 300 
deciding what to sell. See also buying for 
resale; sellers 

family and, 16-18 

hobbies and, 14-16 

pre-existing business and, 18-19 

selling what you know, 287 

soft goods versus hard goods, 13-14 
description of items. See also listing items 
for sale 

as is/where is, 128,299 

designing, 187-188 

example of, 294-295 

honesty in, 281 

HTML code for, 170-171 

keyword spamming and, 48-49, 85 

rules and regulations, 213, 248 

title and subtitles, 63, 186-187, 193 

typeface size, 212 

wording for, 48-49 

writing, 195-196, 212 
desktop shortcuts, creating, 55 
Developer, eBay certified, 177 
dial-up Internet connection, 20-21 
digital cable Internet, 22 
digital camera, 197-198 



disability insurance, 263 

display settings, 111, 112 

display stands and risers, 202-203 

dispute resolutions, 97-100 

dolls, 125, 205-206 

Dolls House World (magazine), 144 

domain name, registering, 156-158 

domain parking, 156 

Donhost.co.uk (Web hosting provider), 

153-154 
double-entry accounting, 250-251 
drop-ship service, 130 
Dryel Fabric Care System, 201, 270 
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), 21-22 
DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), 

251-252 
DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering 

System number), 300 
duplicate auctions, 47 
Dutch (multiple-item) auctions, 37-38 
DVDs and videos, 17, 124, 284-285 



E 



eBay Certified Developer, 177 
eBay ID card, displaying, 70 
eBay Motors UK 

car parts, 32 

cars, 32-34 

final value fees, 194 

item descriptions, sample, 294-295 
eBay Shops UK 

About the Seller page, 105, 115 

auctions versus, 118 

buyer purchasing procedure, 118 

categories, 110, 114 

changing the name of, 111 

checking out procedure, 174 

colour theme for, 108 

custom pages, 111 

customer service and return policy, 114 

customising, 110, 113 



3 7 O Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



eBay Shops UK (continued) 

design and marketing, 111-114 

display settings, 111 

fees, 36, 104, 105, 110, 117 

fixed-price sales, 35-36 

gallery view, sample page, 112 

graphics for, 109, 110 

linking from your auctions, 115 

list view, sample page, 112 

listing header, 114 

logo, 114 

Manage My Shop page, 110-111 

managing your items, 115-1 16 

naming, 105-106, 108 

Open a Shop link, 105, 106 

Open Your eBay Shop link, 106, 107 

optional shop features, 117 

overview, 18-19, 103, 118 

policies page, sample, 113 

promotions, 116 

ranking, 104 

setting up, 106-110 

shipping locations offered, 114 

subscription fees, 36 

Web site, 32 
eBay Timesaving Techniques For Dummies 

(Collier), 43, 135, 171 
eBayco.uk 

age requirement for using, 94 

announcements page, 299 

basic community values, 79 

business activities, list of, 11-12 

business registration service, 77 

Buyer Protection Programme, 220 

buying for resale on, 133-134 

contact information for users, 93-94 

eBay Certified Developer, 177 

history of, 10 

Picture Services, 207-209 

selling your business, 243 

suspending users, 92 

terms of service (TOS) agreement, 302 

tutorials for, 76 
eBayco.uk search engine 

advanced searches, 141-143 

commands for searching, 139-140 

tips for using, 138-139 



electronics, reselling, 129 
e-mail. See also communicating with 
customers 

automating, 169 

eBay employees and, 94 

end-of-auction notice, 64, 170 

fraudulent, 95 

initial customer inquiry, 214 

leaving feedback for buyers, 217 

payment received and shipping notice, 
217-218 

payment reminders, 216-217 

privacy issues, 23, 130 

professionalism in, 211, 213 

View Source function, 95 

winner's notification letter, 169, 215-216 

"Your item is on its way" e-mail, 218 
ending a listing early, 68 
end-of-auction e-mails, 64, 170 
envelopes, padded, 272-273 
e-parcels. co.uk (online parcel delivery 

'broker'), 234, 238-239 
erotica/sexually-orientated material, 40 
Escrow.com (eBay's escrow service), 

221-222 
estate agents. See Properties category 
Ethernet cards, 306 
Excel (software), 26, 254-255, 269 



family business, 16-18 
favourite categories page, 62 
favourite searches page, 62-63 
favourite sellers page, 62-63 
FeaturedPlus! option, 186, 296 
Febreeze (fabric care product), 270 
feedback 

automating, 175 

buyer's feedback rating, 60 

leaving feedback for buyers, 217 

on bidders, 223 

rules and regulations, 243 

Second Chance Offer feature, 46 

when to send, 175 



Index 



319 



Feedback Page 

described, 24, 70-71 

eBay ID card and, 70 

leaving feedback, 71-72 

Mutual Feedback Withdrawal, 71 

negative, removing, 71 

rating field, 24 

responding to feedback, 72-73 

sample page, 70 

star colours, 71 
fees. See also costs 

auction management services, 176 

avoidance violations, 89 

boldface option, 188 

Buy It Now feature, 191 

buyer's premium, 125 

calculator for figuring, 194 

chargebacks and, 300 

consignment sales, 135 

credit card services, 223, 224, 225 

domain name registration, 157 

eBay Shops UK, 36, 104, 105, 110, 117 

escrow service, 222 

FeaturedPlus! option, 186 

final value fees, 93, 194 

fixed-price sales, 36 

gallery photos, 190, 194 

hammer fee, 125, 301 

highlighting option, 187, 193 

home-page featured auctions, 184 

insertion (listing) fees, 36, 115, 184, 
192-194 

Listing Designer option, 194 

listing in two categories, 194 

mediation, 98 

merchant account, 224, 231 

name registration, 157 

non-selling items and, 193 

optional listing features, 193-194 

PayPal (online payment service), 26 

properties, 34 

reserve price auctions, 39, 192 

SafeBuy Assurance Scheme, 222 

Sellathon, 173 



selling cars on eBay Motors, 33, 34 

SmartStamp, 274 

SquareTrade seal, 99 

Web hosting providers, 153, 207 
Fendi Baugette Handbags, 123-124 
final value fees, 93, 194 
Find a Member form, 94 
firewall software, 312 
five-day auction, 43 
fixed-price sales, 35-36 
FOB (freight on board), 131 
fraud 

credit cards and, 224 

e-mail and, 95 

escrow service and, 223 

example of, 76 

identity theft, 230 

protection for buyers, 75 

reporting, 96 

sellers protection, 224, 230 

sniping, 302 
freebies, 127-128 

Freeola (Internet Service Provider), 149 
freightquote (Web site), 234 
FTP (File Transfer Protocol), 150, 167, 301 
full-time eBay business, 12, 285 



•<?• 



gallery photos. See also photographs 

auctions linked to, 169 

fees, 190, 194 

pros and cons of using, 189-191 

sample page, 168 

setting up, 168-169 
garage sales, 124-125 
gems, photographing, 200 
going-out-of-business sales, 125 
Goo Gone, 270 

Google (search engine), 160-161 
Google.co.uk Adwords, 159-161 
government auctions, 126 
graphics, 109, 110 



j20 Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



H 



hammer fee, 125, 301 

handbags, Fendi Baugette, 123-124 

hard goods versus soft goods, 13-14 

hazardous and perishable items, 40 

health and safety regulations, 247 

Help Centre, 40 

highlighting option, 187, 193 

history of eBay, 10 

Hitwise (Web site), 104 

hobbies, as business, 14-16 

Hockman, Dave and Rob (Rockem Music 

owners), 277-278 
holidays, 44 
home network 

benefits of, 303 

home phoneline network, 304, 306-309 

Internet security and, 309-312 

modem and router for, 305 

powerline network, 304, 305-306 

static electricity problems, 305 

WiFi (wireless network), 304, 309-310 
Home Networking For Dummies (Ivens), 303 
home office. See also home network; 
starting an eBay business 

basic needs, 28 

computers for, 19-20 

Internet connection, 20-22 

inventory management, 269 

organising your stock, 267-269 

packaging clean up, 270 

packing items for storage, 268-269 

packing materials, 271-273 

postage, 273-274 

shipping needs, 270-273 

software needs, 24-26 

storage shelves, 268 
home page, My eBay. See also My eBay 

auctions featured on, 184-185 

fee for featured items, 193 

sample page, 13 
home phoneline network, 304, 306-309 



Horsman, Patrick (owner of Incentive), 

280-281 
hosting services. See Web hosting 

providers 
HP Office Jet (scanner/printer/copier), 205 
HTF (hard to find), 301 
HTML 

CuteHTML, 25, 150, 171,210 

generating, 150, 170-171, 210 

software for, 25, 150 

templates, 11, 150, 171 



J 



ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned 

Names and Numbers), 156 
icons 

Comment bubble, 61 

Items I've Won page, 56 

My eBay, 61 

Pound sign, 61 

Shipping box, 61 

Shopping cart, 61 

SquareTrade seal, 99 

Star, 61 
identifiers (m eta tags), 160 
identity theft, 230 

IDS Auction Information Data Systems 
(auction management service), 
178-179 
Incentive (eBay business), 280-281 
insertion (listing) fees, 36, 115, 184, 

192-194 
insurance, 263 

Interland (Web hosting provider), 147-148 
International Standard Book Number 

(ISBN), 301 
Internet connection, 20-22 
Internet Explorer (Web browser), 55 
Internet security 

antivirus software, 312 

firewall software, 312 

home network and, 304, 309-312 



Index 



321 



inventory management, 170, 256, 269 

invoices, 301 

iPosters (eBay store), 283 

ISBN (International Standard Book 

Number), 301 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs), 

20, 149, 207 
item descriptions. See also listing items 
for sale 

as is/where is, 128, 299 

designing, 187-188 

example of, 294-295 

honesty in, 281 

HTML code for, 170-171 

keyword spamming and, 48-49, 85 

rules and regulations, 213, 248 

title and subtitles, 63, 186-187, 193 

typeface size, 212 

wording for, 48-49 

writing, 195-196, 212 
items by the pallet, 130-132 
Items I'm Bidding page, 54-56 
Items I'm Selling page, 58-59 
Items I'm Watching page, 57-58 
Items I've Sold page, 59-61 
Items I've Won page, 56-57 
Ivens, Kathy (Home Networking 
For Dummies), 303 



jewellery, 200, 202 
Jiffy Steamer, 202 
job lots, 132, 133-134 



K 



keystone (100% markup), 301 
keyword spamming, 48-49, 85 



label printer, 273 

legal issues. See also fraud; listing 
violations; rules and regulations; 
violations 
business format, choosing, 243-244 
health and safety, 247 



mediation, 98-99 

online contracts, 248 

privacy laws, 247 

staying up-to-date on, 80 

User Agreement and, 46, 243 
let the buyer beware (caveat emptor), 300 
Levine, Robin and Alan (owners of 

Bubblefast), 281-282 
liability insurance, 263 
liability issues, 244, 245 
lighting for photo studio, 199-200 
limited company, 245-246 
Lindsell-Roberts, Sheryl (Writing Business 

Letters For Dummies), 213 
liquidation auctions, 126 
liquidation merchandise, 128, 129, 130 
liquidators, 129-131 
Listing Designer option, 187-188, 194 
listing items for sale. See also listing 
violations; optional listing features; 
re-listing (or Sell Similar) items 

choosing a category for, 182-183 

ending a listing early, 68 

final value fees, 93, 194 

insertion (listing) fees, 26, 115, 184, 
192-194 

in two categories, 194 

overview, 115-116 

pricing items and, 138-143, 294 

sale days for, 289 

standardised look for, 171, 188 

success tips for, 295-296 

tracking items, 172-173 

Turbo Lister, 11,75, 180 
listing violations 

choice auctions and, 46-47 

duplicate auctions and, 47 

keyword spamming, 48-49, 85 

potentially infringing items, 85-86 

pre-sale listings and, 47-48 

prohibited items, 81-82 

questionable items, 82-84 

restricted items, 40 
lithium ion batteries, CR-V3, 199 
lubricant (WD-40), 205, 270 



322 Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



M 



Manage My Shop page, 110-111 

mannequin, 201, 301 

market for merchandise, 14, 293 

marketing 

for auctions, 44-45 

banner ad exchanges, 158-161 

business Web site and, 44, 158-160 

eBay Shops UK, 111-114 

getting your URL into a search engine, 
158, 160-161 

view counters and, 188-189 
MasterCard (credit card company), 

224, 230 
McMedia DVD (eBay store), 284-285 
mediation, 98-99 

Melrose_Stamp (eBay store), 285-286 
merchant accounts, 26-27, 224, 230-232. 

See also credit cards 
mercury, 203 

metatags (identifiers), 160 
metallic items, photographing, 200 
Microsoft Banner Advertising, 159 
Microsoft FrontPage (Web page software), 

25, 149, 150 
Microsoft Works (software), 254 
Microsoft's Small Business Center, 160 
mint condition, 301 
mint in box (MIB), 301 
mint in mint box (MIMB), 301 
Misco (Web site), 132 
mobile phone, 64 
Model Collector Magazine, 144 
modem, 305 

Motors UK category. See eBay Motors UK 
MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail 

price), 301 
multiple-item (Dutch) auctions, 37-38 
Museum Gel, 203 
music 

deciding to sell, 17 

Rockem Music (eBay business), 277-278 
musty odours, removing, 201, 270 



Mutual Feedback Withdrawal, 71 
My eBay 

All Buying page, 54-58 

All Favourites page, 61-63 

All Selling page, 58-61 

Bidding area, 54 

desktop shortcut to, 55 

home page, 12-13, 184-185, 193 

icons, 61 

mini tote board, 54 

My Account page, 63-65 

My eBay Views, 53, 54 

overview, 52-54 

Related Links box, 53 

Selling area, 54 

Summary entrance page, 52 

updating, 212 
My Max Bid column, 55 



N 



names. See also user ID 
for business Web site, 155, 156-158 
changing your eBay Shop name, 111 
for eBay Shops UK, 105-106, 108 

NARU (not a registered user), 301 

navigation bar, sample, 52 

negative feedback, 99 

Nelson, Stephen (QuickBooks 2005 
For Dummies), 255, 259 

newspapers, online, 124 

Noblespirit (eBay store), 286-287 

Nominet (domain names registrar), 156 

non-paying bidder notice, 46, 217 

non-paying buyers, 91-93 

non-selling items, re-listing, 193 

non-selling sellers, 89-90 

notes, adding, 55-56 







office. See home office 

Omidyar, Pierre (eBay creator), 10 



'ndex 323 



one-day auction, 42 
OOP (out of print), 301 
optional listing features. See also listing 
items for sale 

boldface, 188, 295 

Buy It Now feature, 191-192 

FeaturedPlus! option, 186, 296 

fees for, 193-194 

gallery photos, 189-191 

highlighting, 187, 193 

home-page featured auctions, 184-185 

Listing Designer, 187-188, 194 

pros and cons of using, 183-184 

subtitles, 186-187, 193 

view counters, 177, 188-189 
Oxfam (charity shop), 127 



P 



packing items. See also shipping methods 

fragile items and, 296 

for storage, 268-269 

tips for, 296-297 
packing supplies 

boxes, 268-269, 273 

bubble wrap, 271 

padded envelopes, 272-273 

plastic bags, 268, 271 

shipping tape, 272 

styrofoam packing beads (peanuts), 271 
Paint Shop Pro (image-editing 

software), 206 
pallet, buying items by, 130-132 
Parcel2go (online shipping service), 234, 

237-239 
partnership business, 245 
part-time eBay business, 10-12 
password, 51, 95 

payment methods. See also credit cards; 
merchant accounts; PayPal (online 
payment service) 

banker's drafts, 219-220 

cash, 220 

chargebacks and, 300 

cheques and postal orders, 220 



credit card merchant account, 26-27, 224, 
230-232 

escrow service, 221-223 

overview, 26 

tips for, 296 

VeriSign (payment service), 232 
payment reminders, 216-217 
PayPal (online payment service) 

countries accepted by, 230 

features of, 26, 225-230 

fees, 26, 227 

fraud protection, 224, 230 

generating customised reports, 175 

home page, sample, 226 

integrating with QuickBooks, 256 

member profile page, 226, 227 

Pay Now button, 151, 229-230 

registering with, 228-230 

Shopping Cart, 151 
payroll, QuickBooks for, 259 
peanuts (styrofoam packing beads), 271 
penalties for violations, 87-88 
perishable and hazardous items, 40 
Personal Information page, 64 
phishing, 95 
phone, wireless, 64 
photo studio 

Cloud Dome, 200, 204 

digital camera for, 197-198 

lighting, 199-200 

power supplies, 199 

props, 200-204 

setting up, 196-197 

tripod, 198-199 

Web sites, 196 
photographs. See also gallery photos 

backgrounds for images, 203-205 

cleaning items for, 205 

hosting services for, 174, 207-209 

image resolution, 197 

scanning, 205-206 

size recommendations, 212 

taking good pictures, 204-205, 291-292 

uploading, 166-167 



j2l} Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Photoshop (image-editing software), 206 
Picture Services (eBay.co.uk image hosting 

service), 207-209 
Pirates of the Caribbean (film), 44 
plastic bags, for storing items, 268, 271 
postage, online, 236, 273-274 
postal orders, 220 
Post-it notes, 269 
Pound sign icon, 61 
Poundstretcher, 122 
power supplies, 199 
powerline network, 304, 305-306 
PowerSeller logo, 74-75 
PowerSellers. See also sellers 

as high-pressure job, 293 

gross income per month, 9 

gross monthly sales, 12 

number of items listed per day, 121 

requirements for, 73-74 

researching their listings, 173 
pre-approved bidders, 69 
Preferences page, 51 
Preferred Solution Provider, 177 
pre-sale listings, 47-48 
PreservationPublishing (eBay store), 

288-289 
pricing items. See also reserve price 
auctions 

fixed-price sales, 35-36 

importance of, 294 

keystone (100% markup), 301 

MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail 
price), 301 

researching, 138-143, 294 

value listings and, 137 
print and poster business, 283 
privacy issues 

e-mail address and, 23, 130 

regulations for, 247 

Web site contact information, 157 
private auctions, 40 
professionalism, 211, 213 
prohibited items, 81-82 
Properties category, 19, 34-35 
props for photo studio, 200-204 
provenance, 301 



proxy bidding system, 41-42 
publications, 122-123, 144 
Purchase Protection programme, 46 



Q 



Quake Hold, 203 

QuickBooks 2005 For Dummies (Nelson), 

255, 259 
QuickBooks (accounting software). 
See also bookkeeping 

described, 26, 302 

inventory management, 170, 256, 269 

payroll processing, 259 

reports for your accountant, 256 

tax preparation and, 251 

updating, 255 

versions of, 255-256 

Web site, 255 
QuickBooks Pro (accounting software). 
See also bookkeeping 

chart of accounts, 259-265 

cost of, 255 

integrating with PayPal, 256 

setting up, 256-259 



R 



records, vinyl, 144, 289-290 
Red Cross charity shop, 127 
register, 302 
reinstating a buyer, 69 
re-listing (or Sell Similar) items 
non-paying buyer and, 92 
non-selling items and, 193 
Sell Similar link, 11, 171-172 
Report Auction Fraud Service, 96 
resale items. See buying for resale 
researching. See also searching 
authentication services, 145-146 
best times to run your auctions, 43 
buyer feedback rating, 60 
feedback on bidders, 223 
market assessment, 293 
online sources for, 144-145 



'ndex 325 



PowerSellers listings, 173 

pricing information, 138-143, 294 

publications for, 143-144 
reserve price auctions 

described, 38-40 

eBay Motors UK, 33 

fees, 39, 192 

selling without reserve, 287 
restricted items, 40 
return on investment (ROI), 302 
returns, 129 

Rickmon, John (PowerSeller), 213 
Rockem Music (eBay store), 277-278 
router, 305 
Royal Mail (delivery service), 235-236, 

273-274 
rubber stamps, 285-286 
rules and regulations. See also legal issues; 
violations 

for business, 247-248 

feedback, 243 

feedback and user ID, 243 

for item descriptions, 213, 248 

for online contracts, 248 

government Web site for, 247 

health and safety, 247 

reporting illegal items, 95 

selling your business and, 243 

staying up-to-date on, 283 

User Agreement, 46, 243 

user ID, 243 



SafeBuy Assurance Scheme, 222 

SafeBuy seal, 222 

safety. See security 

Safety Centre, 96, 100-101 

salvage merchandise. See also liquidators 

FOB (freight on board), 131 

liquidations, 128, 129, 130 

returns, 129 

seasonal overstocks, 129 

shelf-pulls, 129 

shipping costs, 131, 132 

unclaimed freight, 128-129 



useless items and, 130 

Websites, 129-130 
scanning images, 205-206 
seamless, 203 

search engines, 138-143, 158, 160-161 
searching. See also research 

advanced, 139-143 

Advanced Search page, 141, 182 

alternate spellings/misspellings 
in titles, 63 

auctions, 138, 141-143 

banner ad designers, 159 

by item category, 138, 141, 182-183 

by item number, 140 

by item title, 63, 186 

by payment method, 141 

category finder feature, 30, 31 

completed auctions, 138, 141-143 

favourite searches page, 62-63 

feedback on bidders, 223 

Find a Member form, 94 

item pricing, 138-143 

items by seller, 141, 143 

items near you, 141 

multiple item listings, 141 

popular items, 138 

PowerSellers listings, 173 

tips for, 138-139 

for user contact information, 93-94 

Web hosting providers, 152 

wholesale merchandise, 133-134 
seasonal overstocks, 129 
Second Chance Offer feature, 45-46 
security 

e-mail scam protection, 95 

Internet and, 309-312 

liability issues, 244, 245 

password, 51, 95 

Purchase Protection programme, 46 

SafeBuy Assurance Scheme, 222 

Safety Centre, 96, 100-101 

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), 309 
Sell Similar (or re-listing) items 

non-paying buyer and, 92 

non-selling items and, 193 

Sell Similar link, 11, 171-172 



32 v Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



Sell Your Item form, 221 
Sell Your Item page 

Find a Main Category, 30 

HTML generation for, 171 

uploading images, 166-167 
Seller Preferences, 70, 91 
Seller Services 

auction software, 75 

bidder-management tools, 67-70 

blocking a buyer, 68-69, 70, 91 

Business Centre, 76 

business registration service, 77 

Buyer Requirements, 70 

cancelling bids, 67-68 

ending a listing early, 68 

Feedback page, 70-73 

fraud protection, 75 

PowerSeller programme, 73-75 

pre-approving bidders, 69 

training and education, 76 
sellers. See also deciding what to sell; 
PowerSellers 

About the Seller page, 105, 115 

as registered Trading Assistant, 135 

Ask a seller a question link, 214 

communicating with customers, 213-218 

contact information for, 93-94 

favourite sellers page, 62-63 

fraud protection for, 224, 230 

home-grown personal approach and, 211 

list activities required for, 11-12 

real-life profiles, 277-290 

self-assessment for, 293 

success tips for, 291-297 

user ID, 56 

violations by, 87-90 
Selling Manager (auction management 

software), 169, 179 
selling your business, 243 
seven-day auction, 43 
sexually-orientated material, 40 
shelf-pulls, 129 
shill bidding, 88 
Shipping box icon, 61 



shipping methods. See also packing 
supplies 

big items, 234, 239 

bulk delivery discounts, 236 

choosing, 233-234 

costs, 234-235, 237 

drop-ship service, 130 

e-parcels.co.uk, 234, 238-239 

for cars, 33 

freight on board (FOB), 131 

overcharging and, 212 

Parcel2go, 234, 237-239 

postage for, 236, 273-274 

Royal Mail, 235-236, 273-274 
shipping tape, 272 
Shopping Cart, 151, 152 
Shopping cart icon, 61 
shops. See eBay Shops UK 
shortcut, desktop, 55 
silver, photographing, 204-205 
Skoll, Jeff (eBay co-creator), 10 
Smart Stamp service (online postage 

service), 236, 273-274 
Smith, Marjie (owner of Abovethemall), 

279-280 
sniping, 302 

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (DVD), 124 
soft goods versus hard goods, 13-14 
software. See also auction management 
software; QuickBooks (accounting 
software) 

antivirus, 312 

basic needs, 24-26 

bookkeeping, 26, 254-255 

CuteHTML, 25, 150, 171,210 

Excel, 26, 254-255, 269 

firewall, 312 

FTP, 150, 167, 301 

image-editing, 206 

Microsoft FrontPage, 25, 149, 150 

Turbo Lister, 11,75, 180 
sole trader business, 244, 302 
spammers, 157 
split transaction, 302 



Index 327 



sporting goods, deciding to sell, 16 
sports cards and memorabilia, 

authenticating, 146 
SquareTrade (dispute resolution 

company), 97-99 
SquareTrade seal, 99-100 
Stamp Magazine, 144 
stamps 

authenticating, 146 

Noblespirit (eBay store), 286-287 

online postage, 273-274 

postage, 205, 236 

rubber, 285-286 
Standard Purchase Protection 

Programme, 75 
Stannard, Jeff (owner of Melrose Stamp 

company), 285-286 
star colours, Feedback Page, 71 
Star icon, 61 

Star Trek memorabilia, 127, 128 
Star Wars action figures, 128 
starting an eBay business. See also 
deciding what to sell; home office 

About Me page and, 27, 66 

business format for, 243-244 

business registration, 77 

business Web site for, 27 

choosing a user ID, 22-24 

computer needs, 19-20 

credit cards and, 26-27 

full-time and part-time, 10-12 

list activities required for, 11-12 

self-assessment and, 293 
starting bids, 41-42 
static electricity problems, 305 
statistics research, automating, 172-173 
steamers, 201-202 
sticker residue, removing, 203, 205 
storage 

buying bulk and, 14 

deciding what to sell and, 13 

for merchandise and supplies, 28 

organising your stock, 267-269 

shelves for, 268 
stores. See eBay Shops UK 



styrofoam packing beads (peanuts), 271 

Submit It! (search engine), 160 

subtitles, 186-187, 193 

success 
customer service and, 289 
real-life profiles, 243, 277-290 
tips for selling on eBay, 291-297 
Web site, 243 

suspending eBay users, 92 



Talley Nick (owner of iPosters), 283 

tape, for shipping, 272 

taxes 

accountants help with, 251 

corporations and, 246-247 

keeping business records and, 252-254 

penalties, 254 

tax deduction, 302 
templates 

eBay Shop page, 113 

e-mail, 179 

Excel, 254-255 

graphics, 188 

HTML, 11, 150, 171 
ten-day auction, 43 
thank you note to winners, 296 
three-day auction, 43 
TipLink buttons, 44-45 
title and subtitle of items, 63, 186-187, 193 
TOS (terms of service), 302 
toys, 17, 125 
tracking 

buyer information, 174-175 

counters for, 177, 188-189 

item listings, 172-173 

trends, 61 

visitors to your Web site, 152, 177, 
188-189 
trademarked items, 87, 155 
The Trader (magazine), 122-123 
Trading Assistant, registered, 135 



j2o Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk For Dummies 



trading violations 

bid shielding, 90, 300 

contact information issues, 93-94 

fee avoidance, 89 

non-paying buyers, 91-93 

non-selling sellers, 89-90 

penalties for, 87-88 

reporting, 86-87 

shill bidding, 88 

transaction interception, 89 

transaction interference, 88-89 

unwelcome bidder, 90-91 
traditional auctions, 36 
training and education, 76 
transaction interception, 89 
transaction interference, 88-89 
trends, tracking, 61 
tripod, 198-199 
tripod mount, 198 

Turbo Lister (auction software), 11, 75, 180 
tutorials, eBay.co.uk, 76 
typeface size, 212 



V 



U 



UKFast.net (Web hosting provider), 

153, 154 
unclaimed freight, 128-129 
un-du, 203, 205, 270 
unwelcome bidder, 90-91 
URL (Universal Resource Locator) 

forwarding, 157-158 

free Web space and, 148 

getting into a search engine, 158, 160-161 

secure Web sites and, 95 
USB (universal serial bus) adapter, 308 
User Agreement, 46, 243 
user ID 

buyers, 60 

changing, 24 

choosing, 22-24 

multiple, 51 

rules and regulations, 243 

sellers, 56 



value listings, 137 

velvet, 204 

Verified Rights Owners (VeRO) 

programme, 87 
VeriSign (payment service), 232 
videos and DVDs, 17, 124, 284-285 
view counters, 177, 188-189 
ViewTracker (online statistics service), 172 
Vinyl Tap (eBay store), 289-290 
violations. See also fraud; listing violations 

by bidders, 90-93 

by sellers, 87-90 

dispute resolutions, 97-100 

member contact information and, 93-94 

reporting, 86, 95-96 
Visa (credit card company), 224, 230 
visitors to your Web site, tracking, 152, 
177, 188-189 



W 



watches, on eBay, 280-281 

watching, 57-58 

WD-40 (lubricant), 205, 270 

Web browsers, 55 

Web designers, 155 

Web hosting providers 

auction management services as, 207 

choosing, 151-153 

design help from, 155 

Donhost.co.uk, 153-154 

fees, 153, 207 

for photographs, 174, 206-209 

Interland, 147-148 

Picture Services, 207-209 

shopping cart policy, 152 

technical support from, 151-152 

UKFast.net, 153, 154 
Web site, business 

choosing a name, 155 

contact information, 157 

design help, 150, 155 



Index 329 



domain name registration, 156-158 
domain parking, 156 
eBay Shop as extension of, 105 
forbidden links, 45 
free Web space for, 148-150 
importance of, 27, 44 
marketing for, 44, 158-160 
PayPal tools for, 151 
software for, 25, 149, 150, 171, 210 
TipLink buttons for, 44-45 
tracking visitors to, 152, 177, 188-189 
trademarking, 155 
Web sites 
Auction Software Review, 165 
broadband checker, 20, 21 
Cloud Dome, 200 
collectibles, 144-145 
CuteHTML, 25 
DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), 

251-252 
government auctions, 126 
Hitwise, 104 
job lots, 132 
liquidators, 129-130 
photo studio, 196 



rules and regulations, 247 

secure, 95 

User Agreement, 46 
Web Trends (reporting service), 152 
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), 309 
wholesale merchandise, 130, 133-134, 302 
WiFi (wireless network), 304, 309-310 
winners 

confirmation e-mails, 169, 215-216 

Items I've Won page, 56-57 

special discounts for, 216 

thank you note to, 296 
Won and Didn't Win page, 55 
Writing Business Letters For Dummies 
(Lindsell-Roberts), 213 



Yahoo! (online shop), 104 
Yahoo! GeoCities (Internet Service 

Provider), 149, 160 
Yahoo.co.uk Search! (search engine), 

160-161 



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Blues For Dummies 

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Classical Music For Dummies 

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Drums For Dummies 

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Jazz For Dummies 

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Rock Guitar For Dummies 

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Screenwriting For Dummies 

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Songwriting For Dummies 

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Singing For Dummies 

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HEALTH, SPORTS & FITNESS 




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Controlling Cholesterol 

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Dieting For Dummies 

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High Blood Pressure 

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Martial Arts For Dummies 

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Menopause For Dummies 

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Power Yoga For Dummies 

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Weight Training 

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Yoga For Dummies 

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INTERNET 



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dumK Ie3 



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eBay.co.uk 
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Dreamweaver 8 
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Web Design 
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Everyday Internet 
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DIGITAL MEDIA 






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Photoshop CS2 
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Podcasting 
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Blogging 

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Digital Photography all in 

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Windows XP Digital Music 

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Office XP 9 in 1 
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PCs All-in-One Desk 
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Pocket PC For Dummies 
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Upgrading & Fixing PCs 

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Available wherever books are sold. For more information or to order direct go to www.wileyeurope.com or call 0800 243407 (Non UK call +44 1243 843296)